What is the water supply system of a municipality like?
In our day to day we make use of numerous services and systems without asking ourselves how they are managed. For example, we operate a switch and we have electricity, many times without knowing what is the process of generation and transport of electric current. In the same way, we see it natural to open a tap and water to come out (hopefully it is abundant and of adequate quality for consumption). But do we really know how the water supply system what do we consume?
We will tell you briefly.
The aspect that most influences how the water supply system of a municipality or locality is the water source . In this way we could have different sources of water:
Types of water according to its origin
According to nature and origin of the water , to transform it into drinking water must go through specific treatments, ranging from simple disinfection and filtration , to expensive and complex processes, such as desalination .
Phases of the water supply system
Depending on the origin, a specific drinking water supply system , but the most complex system is the one that starts from surface waters, and normally consists of five phases :
Capture of surface water is done through hydraulic structures called intakes, followed by preliminary filtering.
2º) Deposit or storage of raw water or not treated:
When the water source does not have a sufficient flow throughout the year, it is necessary to provide sufficient storage for the driest months. For this purpose, they are built reservoirs in rivers or streams . In this way, in the case of groundwater collection, the aquifer itself functions as a storage tank, although there are times when the water table drops so much that the wells remain dry for a season.
3º) Water treatment:
Is the part more delicate of the entire supply system. Is done through drinking water treatment plants or stations (ETAP or PTAP) . We have already commented on another post which are large facilities that use physical and chemical processes to carry out these treatments. To this end, they use a large number of pools through which the water passes while they are removing or reducing the concentration of each of the pollutants that it can bring.
4th) Storage of treated water:
In order to supply high water demands (peak hours, etc.) it is necessary to have tanks . These storages are also oversized to be able to supply enough water in case of emergency , such as when a fire breaks out. They also usually have chlorine dispensers , for prevent water from getting contaminated during storage or during distribution to homes.
5th) Distribution network:
The pipes start from the storage tank and have to reach each house. For this, next to the tank or reservoir a pumping station is placed where pressure is given to the water, which It is distributed by main, secondary, tertiary pipes and domiciliary derivations . In large municipalities it is necessary to have other intermediate storage tanks. The main pipes have valves to operate the network and sectorize the supply in cases of breaks or emergencies, flow measurement devices, etc. The drinking water distribution networks They can be designed as closed rings (as in towns or cities), or branched (as in scattered rural communities).
The water supply systems Municipalities are usually managed by a public company, although in many cases they are privatized. In any case, a good number of professionals work day and night to guarantee the magic that when you open a tap, a abundant and quality water .
In addition, water management implies that those responsible agents and systems result in a correct supply, although, of course, the correct use must be carried out by the final consumer.
Keeping in mind all this process that is carried out with water from when it is collected or accumulated until it reaches our homes will help us to be more aware of the importance of a responsible use of this very vulnerable resource.