Rapid globalization in the world in the recent years has led to a number of shared environmental problems. “As globalization continues and the earth’s natural processes transform local problems into international issues, few societies are being left untouched by major environmental problems.” (Environmental problems, 1999, para.1). One among these, a serious concern for all environmentalists is the problem of pollution. The problem of environmental pollution which cannot be overlooked has proved to be exigent and uncontrollable. They have become very critical, kept unresolved or overlooked over longer time horizons. The government of every nation faces this challenging problem. The given case study presents a scenario where the public utilities department of a town has failed in implementing a sound water distribution system due to low-accountability and performance issues of the employees. This has resulted in the death of the residents which unless controlled with immediate effect would prove to be more fatal.
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- Determine the cause for the failure of Meadow Brook’s Public Utilities division and Water Delivery System
- Recommend measures to overcome the problem by developing a Performance Management System.
Purpose of Study
The purpose of the study is to develop a performance management system based on Commission process, services and employees. There is also a scope for creating a public awareness plan to be established in the town of Meadow Brook
Statement of Problem
The Meadow Brook town has encountered a local tragedy due to the unaccountability of employees in Public Utilities Commission. Water contamination has claimed the life of many and has proved to be uncontrollable. The problem which could have been controlled in the earlier stages itself has proven to be fatal due to the untimely actions and frivolity of the authorities.
Review of Literature
Water which has no substitute is a unique resource which is a very fundamental source of life. According to Postel (1999), the roots of water problems lies in the fact that unlike any other scant resources, water is used to stir up all aspects of life. In his journal “A Long Term View of Water and International Security”, Aaron T Wolf states that water management is a kind of conflict management. He says “There is no such thing as managing water for a single purpose—all water management is multi-objective and based on navigating competing interests.”
(Wolf, 2009, p.67). According to the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of Global Water Partnership the major challenge faced by countries in their economic and social development are more related to water which include Water shortages, quality deterioration and flood impacts.
TAC reports that some countries do only little in water resources management with complete openness and transparency which gives no access to the public to information. It says the continuation of this approach can be counterproductive. The risky areas in water management involve extreme climate conditions, public health and environmental damage. According to TAC the usage of water is integrated as water for people, water for food, water for nature and water for industry and other uses. There is great need for integrating the quantity and quality. The decline in the quality reduces its usability. “Clearly, institutions capable of integrating the quantity and quality aspects have to be promoted to influence the way human systems operate in generating, abating and disposing of waste products.” (Agarwal, et al, 2000, p.25). It emphasizes on the importance of Public Awareness as a tool to mobilize sustainable water management and inducing changes in behavior and action to achieve the objective of water management.
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Water Delivery System
The state legislature of Arizona says that a water delivery system involves an entity that distributes or sells potable water through a pipeline delivery system. This system is owned by either a city or town which is under the rules and regulations of the government, a private entity which is regulated as a public service corporation or an entity of water supply system which is regulated by the environmental quality department. (Definition of municipal water delivery system, 2007).
In their study “Developing a sustainable water-delivery system in rural El Salvador” the team works on assessing the feasibility of implementing a water delivery project. “Different types of water pumps, filtration mechanism and a good water supply network are the most essential requirements of a successful fresh water supply system.” (Wing, et al. 2007).
The first step of the study involved creating a map showing the distribution location. A successful Water delivery system involves structural engineering for infrastructure design, water- filtering to address health related issues and timely maintenance and operations. (Wing et al, 2007)
Surface water which is supplied through the distribution channel comes from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. This water is disinfected and filtered and subjected to other treatments before it enters the distribution system. This surface water usually travels miles through underground pipes before it reaches the people.
Ground water wells or surface water are the source of our drinking water. Most of the rural populations have ground water wells with simple piping system. There are many other people in populated areas who get water from large water supply wells via complicated distribution system. “Ground water supplies are usually extracted by a pump, treated and disinfected when necessary, and delivered to homes and businesses through a network of pipes called a distribution system.” (New England’s ground water resources, n.d., p.116).
The Iowa Association of Naturalist says that both ground water and surface water are equally important as they supply drinking water for people and livestock and for other uses such as irrigation and industrial production. The pollution of these two water systems is categorized: Point Source and non-point source. Pollutants that cannot be tracked to a single source are Non point source. Chemical run-off, soil erosion and animal waste are examples of non-point source. The point source can be traced to a specific source and are also called end of the pipe pollution. Some examples for point source pollutants are leaking chemical tank, effluents from waste treatment or industrial plants, manure spill etc. the point source becomes a major threat for household, communities and industries. (Iowa Association of Naturalists, 1998)
The best solution to the problem of water pollution is by asking oneself “how much are we willing to change our lives and how much are we willing to spend to ensure that the water we use every day is clean and pure?” (Lowa water pollution, n.d., p.23).
Microbial contamination of water
According to New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission micro organisms when ingested in drinking water pose potential health problem causing a number of life threatening diseases like cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and gastrointestinal diseases. Microbial contamination of the water is attributed to the following sources:
- Sewage disposal,
- Wild life
- Storm water run-off. (Protection measures to prevent and control microbial contamination, n.d., p.1).
A number of studies highlight that grazing livestock causes faecal contamination of water resources which are indicated by E.coli and other bacterial pathogens. This contamination happens mainly when the livestock dispose faecal material in water bodies (Collins, 2001). “Giardia, cryptosporidium, salmonella, campylobacter, and Escherichia coli (E.coli) are the most commonly identified microorganisms found in mammals and birds.” (Protection measures to prevent and control microbial contamination, n.d., p.1).
Public Utilities Department
“A public utility is defined here as an organization that is majority owned and controlled by government and could consist of number of different forms, some of which may be undistinguished from the government unit that they may be part of.” (Baietti, 2006, p.2). ‘Water Supply & Sanitation Working Notes’ says that urban water supply and sanitation services are commonly provided by state-owned and colossal water organizations. It adds, successful public utilities are still the exception because the people in many developing countries are under the authority of public utilities. This has resulted due to ineffective, misdirected policies and the monopolistic nature of the sector.
The report uses a case study approach to bring into light the essential features of a rationalized public utility and tries to find out key competencies that have a greater impact on performance. Performance management issues are important concerns of public utilities. Benchmarking system can provide the opportunity to monitor each sector performance. “With a national utility; this is best achieved by establishing cost or profit centers for each self-contained system within the entire network and monitoring performance regularly on this basis. In a decentralized setting, governance needs to be tightened considerably by increasing transparency and the accountability of mayors for improving local services. Benchmarking performance of the government units themselves is one way of making mayors more accountable to their constituents because comparative results can be made available to the public on a periodic basis.” (Baietti, 2006, p.31).
Other means of investigating the issue
The various data collection methods have been used in this context to analyze the problems related with municipality of Meadow Brook town in providing contaminated water supply to the people. Different types of need analysis are available in order to find out the problems behind this. A key success to need assessment is to gather the correct data among the certain groups of people. The different types of methodology used here for needs assessment are done by conducting surveys and interviews among selected focus groups in order to identify the actual problem. The focus group selected here are peoples living in the Meadow Brook town itself. It is very important because these people will be having very good knowledge regarding the problems happened in the Meadow Brook town regarding contaminated water. The need assessment includes opinion about these people to reduce the problems happening in the water and how purified water can be provided for the people. It is understood that contaminants are added in to the water from many sources. The origin of drinking water can be from river, lake, ponds etc. So it is very clear that water needs to travel through many surfaces. So the chance for having water get contaminated is very large. ”Contaminants that may be present in source water include microbial contaminants; inorganic contaminants; pesticides and herbicides; organic chemical contaminants; and radioactive contaminants.” (Annual drinking water quality report for 2007, n.d., p.1). So it is very much important that authorities need to take effective measures in order to remove this contamination from water before it reaches in to the population. Failing to do so will bring lots of health hazardous in people.
Certain groups have been focused in order to conduct the survey. Here two surveys are conducted among two sets of people. This is for analyzing the problem very clearly. Just conducting one survey won’t give accurate result. To avoid that two surveys are conducted.
Survey is to understand how the certain groups of people are raising their voice about this problem and what are their opinions regarding this issue. This is one of the important or effective measures for data collection.
During the survey with first set of people it is understood that focused group of people are very much aware about the problem they commented that these problems are happened just because presence of E. coli bacteria in water is very much high. Also these people mentioned that other different sources which are necessary to make water contaminants are radioactive, microbial, organic and inorganic contaminants or the presence of pesticides and herbicides. Water can be said to be purified only when all these contaminants must be removed. During the survey, people complaint that the person in charge was not a high skill full person for doing this job. This is the main reason for happening all sorts of problem regarding contamination of water. His lack of awareness that is even though Kramer realized water is contaminated after test he didn’t take any action. This shows lack of dedication. People are very much angry also for occurrence of this kind of problems.
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The second sets of people are also actively participated in the survey. They also mentioned same issue or problems mentioned by first set of people. In addition to this they mentioned is to improvise the system which is used for purifying the water. The person who is operating the machine must be having high skill full in this activity. Addition to this theses people suggested some other measures to purify the water to make this more effective for drinking purpose. People also mentioned inspection and monitoring of the machine and water should be done in regular basis to ensure everything is proper.
Interviews are conducted with eminent people in order to identify the tools for this problem. People selected for the interview are with one of the officials selected from health departments and other person is the CEO of a company which is manufacturing the machines for water purification.
Short portrayal from an interview conducted with one of the officials from health departments:
During an interview, official of the health departments mentioned some “activities for which contaminated water may be used.“ (Kreger, 2007, para.2).
In his view he mentioned there is no problem in using this water for washing dress, bathing etc. But at same he mentioned very precaution must be taken while this water is used for bathing purpose for children. Because there is a chance for digesting that water, during such case serious harmful effects will take place. Official mentioned that if there are small amounts of contaminants present then that water can be used after sterilizing. By this way bacteria might get killed. Also official said while washing dishes or utensils one need to be very careful and don’t forget to use water which is boiled. Another important point mentioned while winding up the interview official mentioned that every one should have some concern on for what purpose contaminated water can be used or not, also one must have minimum knowledge on how to sterilize the contaminated water. That is one must be always prepare how to deal with water containing E-coli and other types of bacteria’s. He also advised people to “consult the water quality report that you should receive annually from your local water system, or call your local water system directly.” (Drinking water contaminants: Basic information about E. Coli 0157: H7 in drinking water, 2006, para.14).
Short portrayal from an interview conducted with CEO:
CEO mentioned that in order to avoid such issues happened in Meadow Brook town one need to use very good water purification system. Not only this person who is responsible for operating the machine must have very well knowledge regarding the operation. CEO mentioned that locals must contact authorities to get water quality report in order to make sure locals are getting purified water. CEO also suggested different steps water need to undergo before it gets purified completely. First step is aeration. “The treatment process begins with aeration, which reduces carbon dioxide levels to lower treatment costs and also improves taste.” (Wilmington water department, 2004, p.3). Next important step is alum is added into the water. This is done to remove color particles from water. Next, in order to remove iron and manganese particle potassium permanganate is added in to the water. It is because presence of these iron and manganese will add unwanted color and smell in water. There are two more steps such as settling and filter basins before water gets chlorinated. CEO mentioned this is the actual classic step for removing unwanted contaminants from water. He also mentioned that presently there are “microprocessor based control system monitors and displays the water quality and other conditions and generates an alarm if an abnormal condition arises.” (Water purification machine, 2009, para.1). CEO mentioned by using such kind of machine one can guarantee purified water to the public.
Detailed description of possible action plan
Action plan includes variety of options in order to address the problems. The problem here is failure of Meadow Brooke water delivery system to provide purified water to the public. To over come such issues taking place in future some action plan must be implemented. One of the important issue is high skill full person must be placed as an operator. He/she must have very well knowledge in understanding in which level water gets contaminated. Also very well acquaintance about the machine is desirable for the operator. Even if any problem happened to the machine he/she must have familiarity that some problems happened and need to correct it. Such awareness is very important. To have all these, person who is appointed as an operator must undergone different steps or exams to analyze the person is capable. Authorities must always keep an eye on this operator in order to see everything is fine.
Presently it was annually the purification report of the water is published. It must change to quarterly so that everything will be effective. Similarly water purification machine must be best one. As mentioned earlier by one of the CEO of the water purification company said, the machine used for purifying water must be best one with all the features for testing the contamination present in water. Also machine should need display devices to show how much water is purified, that is the ratio. Also machine should need an alarm system in case contaminated water pass through the machine then sound will come from an alarm so that everyone will be aware about it so that people can step away from using that water. These are two important action plans.
Other than this authority must always watch the happenings taking place. They should check the machine properly in regular intervals it is because a minute problem in machine results unpurified water to go through which can results various hazards among those who intake that water. Next important issue is people should be given an option for submitting feedback report about the water they are using. It will be very use full. Feedback can be put through electronic media or in person. The reason is if a person assumes any kind of unfamiliarity while using water they can put a feedback which will be an eye opener for authorities for checking the water. Authorities must see whether any feedback has been received. This must be checked daily. Otherwise there will be no use.
Most effective solution to the problem
Among the various models and solutions mentioned in the above step, the best solution that can be applied to this organization is selected. The best solution is mentioned below;
- Provide both theoretical and practical training program for the employees in certain areas such as;
- Continuously monitoring and controlling the chlorinating system of the company.
- Preparing a quarterly performance report and presenting it to the higher authority.
- Before labeling the water samples the public utility commission has to make sure that the water is taken from trusted sources.
Based on the discussions on the case study, it was found that by concentrating on these aspects it is easier for the company to bring out talented and efficient employees who will be able to maintain the over all performance system of the company.
By giving appropriate training program to the employees, their knowledge and skill related to the task will develop and this lead to efficient and effective management of the available resources within the organization. “According to Ivancevich, training is the systematic process of altering the behavior of employees in a direction to increase achievement of the organization goals.” (Importance of training, 2009).
The problems that are raised due to the carelessness of the employees can be reduced by giving them adequate training. The employees should be given a clear idea regarding the chlorinating system that is practicing in the organization. It is better to create a group of employees to control and monitor the performance of the chlorinating system. The proportion of the chlorine content should not be low or high. The chlorine proportion should be maintained as per the rule of the ministry of water authority. The chlorine proportion should match the proportion of the bacteria presented in the water. The lab manager is responsible for testing the samples within the organization, the quality of the water can be identified through qualitative testing process. The lab manager should be trained well because the overall efficiency of performance system is based on test result provided by lab manager.
The overall performance must be evaluated and must be presented in a performance report.
This can be done quarterly. This quarterly report must be submitted to the higher authority and to the department of environmental quality (DEQ). Department of environmental quality is responsible for handling issues that are related top environment. So that any deviations in performances can be identified and appropriate measures can be taken. Normally in organizations the performance report are presented on an annual basis. But here the problem is very serious and it has also lead to death of people. So it is essential for the company to analyze whether the solutions implemented is beneficial for them. So for this year the performance report must be prepared and presented to the higher authority on the basis of quarterly performance. After solving all these problems the company can change its report format into an annual report that must be presented in each year.
The pubic utility commission is responsible for selecting the sources from where the water has to be taken. The sources from where the water is taken should be verified and laboratory test of those samples should be done. Any faulty information provided by the organization should be penalized. By following all these aspects it will be easier for the organization to build an appropriate performance management system.
Strategies formulated to implement the recommended solutions
A performance management system is implemented in an organization to bridge the gap between the expected performance and the actual performance of the resources within the organization. “Performance management is the process of creating a work environment or setting in which people are enabled to perform to the best of their abilities.” (Susan, 2009, para.1). For implementing the recommended solutions certain strategies has been developed. The strategies that can be implemented in the organization to increase their efficiency are listed as follows;
- Outsourcing the resources from a trust worthy and recognizable entities.
- State wide segmentation has to be developed to analyze the high relevant efficiency of the resources used by the organization.
- The technique of social marketing can be implemented by which it will create awareness among the people regarding the pollutants responsible for the water pollution.
- A website can be developed which provides all informations regarding the issues related to the water pollution and precautions that has to be taken against it
An appropriate marketing plan is framed based on the these strategies;
This plan forms the basis for the organization to solve the issues that are currently faced by them. This plan serves as a public awareness plan for the people. The plan is composed of certain components that are explained as follows;
The mission of the organization is to provide good quality water for the customers in the locality. Water filtration units are established to attract the people and to create awareness in the minds of the people that the water is fit for use.
The objective of the company is to increase the consumption rate of the people or customers.
The financial objective includes increasing the growth rate annually.
The target market for this product is the general people who are consuming water that is distributed by the authority. It includes all segments in the market. The organization is focusing on this group because it has focusing towards building a trustworthy relationship with the people.
The organization will position itself as a customer oriented organization where the water will be delivered to the customers at a reasonable cost. After implementing the solution in the organization the performance of the organization will increase and this will increase the quality of the water whereby the trust among the people towards the commission will increase.
In the strategies the main objective of the organization is to regain the goodwill that has been lost among the people due to the present problem. The marketing strategy is framed to provide an awareness among the people that the water has been purified and it is fit for use.
- Pricing: The pricing of the water delivery is at a reasonable cost and it is framed by the public utility commission.
- Place: Public utility commission is responsible for the distribution of water in the locality
- Promotion: The promotion can be done by giving samples to the public. Certain awareness programs must be conducted to generate idea in among the people that the water has been purified and it is fit for use. An awareness advertisement by the government will be very helpful for the organization to get back its reputation and trust.
- People: The concept of marketing mix becomes successful only when the product is positioned in the minds of the people. Through this plan the organization aims to reduce the serious problems in future by emphasizing more on safeguarding the life of the people and thereby increasing the satisfaction level among them.
Market research is conducted through survey method, interview and data collected from the focus group.
Design measures by which to evaluate the success of the proposed implemented solution
The Medow Brooke is facing a lot of problem which is so severe to cause a challenge in the lives of people; the proper management and the immediate action are to be undertaken for the prevention of the hazardous disease and the infection caused by the water pollution. The epidemic should be nullified from the city and the precaution should be taken by the respective authorities.
The main problem faced by the meadow Brooke are the little concern by the respective authorities, the ignorance by the persons have the adverse effect on the people, the minor ignorance of the microbial has led to a tragedian situation causing deaths, diarrheia and kidney failure. The main reasons for the different kind of the water pollution are the global warming, organic and thermal pollution, sewage and waste water, industrial waste, eutrophication, suspended matter and the oxygen depletion. Water pollution despite from the different sources has the heinous effect on inhabitants. “If the pollution comes from a single source, such as an oil spill, it is called point-source pollution. If the pollution comes from many sources, it is called nonpoint-source pollution.” (Types of water pollution, 2008, para.1).
The point sources are easy for the identification were the non point sources are difficult in the analyzing as they constitute of the different external factors.
The implementation measures
The water pollution should be prevented in order to create a healthy environment and free from any kind of the pollutions occurring. The prevention of the pollution should always be a function of government as a strict action plan for the well being and due consideration to economic, social and the public. “The alternative to the government assuming it amongst its functions is for the control of water pollution to be left at the hands of the general public and, in particular, to the initiative of citizens who have a cause for complaint which is actionable before the courts.” (Preparing national regulations for water resource management, n.d, para.3). The different steps have to be considered and practiced for the water pollution.
The laws for the complete improvement
The law should be implemented for the prevention of the water pollution, it should be useful in such a way that the law should be stressed, if the law are violated it should be considered as a serious offence. The policies are to be implemented which emphasis on the sewage treatment, rules of the water pollution, the discharging of waste to the fresh water, the pollution from the chemical industry and the toxic waste that are deposited, the dumping of the materials that are non renewable. The environment protection policy should be put in practice by the people and the rules of the environment protection should be implemented. The quality standards are to be adopted and the ground standards have to be considered. The local government should take an active role in the identification of the pollution related aspects for the well being of the firm. They should also involve in the large scale inspection to find whether the proper plans are been implemented and practiced. The inspection should be in the nook and corner in order to eradicate the pollution from the scratch.
Prioritize the action plans by the authoritative body
The pollution is enormorosly increasing heinous act of the society, the global developments are vast and widening to have the rise in the country’s wealth and the economy, the income can be increased by the implementation of the different business groups and the industries, the waste discharge from the industries are not treated in a proper way, the organic and the chemical products find the place in the lakes and river, this is the reason of the decease of the river. The public has the reduced level of the interfere in the pollution related matters and they find the large scale use of the resources. The local committee grants are to be imposed and the separate information sharing groups are to be hired and the people interested work groups are to be formed and the separate actions can be provided.
Transition of policies and measures
The transition of the policy and the measures are to be put in practice as the precaution step for the water pollution, the different steps like the transition from the point source pollution to the large river basins and lakes, to the entire process control. The different kind of the policy measures are to be considered they include the industrial restructuring were the sewage are usefully maintained and the waste materials should be managed effectively. The conducting of the environment assessment which minimizes the waste resources and they finds an alternative for the industrial policy. To demolish the products, process and the construction projects which are more harmful and can be a cause of the dreadful disease. To find the scope for conversion of the sewage into resources where the ecological agriculture and the organic agriculture find the way, the water recycling is also an important method for the integrated treatment. The infrastructure constructions, the sewage plant, the smoke emission from the factories are to be treated and the alternative are to be founded out for the prevention of pollution. The investment has to be done in tact for the Water pollution and the measures are to be considered. The pollution and the preventive measure in the urban nation should be treated and they should be a topic of discussion in the government plans like the 5 year plans.
The proper reviews should be conducted and the conducting of the workshops and the awareness campaigns should be encouraged, the responsibility should be given a major stress unlike the meadow Brooke where the DEO was irresponsible and the less response to the stimuli, from the members. The technical advisory board should be there to give the advices on the treatment of the pollution and the chemical treatment on the polluted water for reducing the concentration of toxins.
The reviews are conducted mainly for the upliftment of the poorer countries as the developed countries has their own way of getting the water and the use of the recycled water which is free from all the other sources. “Water pollution is a concern for the world. It is not something limited to poor nations.” (Prevention of water pollution on a global level, 2009, para.1).
The evaluation Plan
The water pollution plant should be evaluated to notice whether the implementation are done in a proper manner as to understand the different success criteria in the implementation of them. “The water pollution control facilities and water quality impacts of the proposed activities or facilities are reviewed to determine if the proposed activity or facility will comply with the applicable water pollution and associated regulations.” (Facility Evaluation Unit, 2007, para.2).
Site description and implementer measure
The site description is done in the different ways where the implementation plan has to be taken in account and the different stages of the pollution are to be described and the kinds of the preventive measures are to be taken this has also to be done in making the firm free from all sought of the pollution that is affected.
The emphasis should be made in the affect of the pollution and about the victim affected.
The implementation mainly consists of different steps and affect of them in process. The methods are to be practiced in such a way as to know the different kind of the techniques involved in the implementation. The implementation and promotion has to be done in a particular way as the sharing of the information is done and the employing of the local work force for the anticipating in the work force and making them free from the eradication of the pollution measures. The several grants by the government has to be issued for the implementation and for the post implementation to analyze whether this has been success. The financial assessment and analysis should be done in each stage of implementation. The pollution should be given due care in each step for avoiding chaos.
There are many factors that have to be taken into consideration by the Medow Brooke public utility commission before supplying water to the locality. The major problem in this case is water pollution and the serious disasters that have happened because of it. It was found that proper training of employees and creating awareness among them will help the commission in overcoming all these problems. The malfunctioning of the chlorinating system within the authority has been identified as the other problem which has to be considered next. For this a quarterly performance report has to be presented to the government or the respective authority. The authority has to more responsible in the general affairs related with the society. A marketing plan which creates awareness among the public is also included in this paper.
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