The Duties of a Superintendent

The Duties of a Superintendent

Grant M. Lorraine, superintendent of the Alhambra, Cal., water works, tells interestingly, in his annual report, of the duties devolving upon the executive head of the water department. He speaks partly as follows:

“The business of supplying water is of a different character than that of any other municipal industry at the present time, being managed by the city of Alhambra. All other departments are primarily disbursing agencies, expending allotted funds on predetermined work. The water department is, however, a commercial enterprise, possessing requirements similar to other public utilities. The superintendent and manager of the department daily deals with questions of production and distribution and must be thoroughly posted in regard to all new methods and problems continually arising in regard to operation and maintenance. Thousands of consumers must be handled individually with the same regard which obtains in the best conducted retail trade. Much more is required of the water works executive than merely to get value received as the price of labor. In addition he must have detailed knowledge and ability to handle such financial questions as valuation of works, and equitable rate making, as well as hydraulic problems involved in supplying water under conditions which will satisfy modern standards. Intelligent feature cost systems of accounting are necessary; equitable and just rules and regulations to meet the various conditions are required. Discrimination must be avoided and withal the management must reflect good business judgment. A public water works, whether owned by a private company or a municipality, is one of the most important and vital elements on which the health and welfare of the community depend. The responsibility for its safe and efficient operation is great and any failure in the performance of its function is damaging to the dommunity depending upon it. To be operated well and continuously its financial success must be certain in order to meet current obligations, to maintain the desired standards and to adequately provide for the growing demands. The engineering requirements, however, are of equal importance. The elements of the water system require careful analysis; and thoughtful planning is necessary in order to forecast the future service requirements and to insure successful operation and substantial building,”

No posts to display