20 March 2013

Question of the week

Customer service is job 1!
I'm thinking that "water manager" is not the right title for people who work at drinking water utilities, irrigation districts, and other water organizations.

That's because they are not really supposed to manage water supply and demand as much as make it easier for the real users, their customers, to get the water they need.

Managers move people or objects around to meet organization goals that they set, but water managers don't really know the goal. They know how much water there is. Customers know the goal.

I'm thinking that "managers" are more like waterboys who deliver water where and when it's needed, on command.

But that's not a very powerful title, is it?

Got a better one?

Or, got another reason for why they should be called managers or a different reason why they should be called something else?

Do tell.

7 comments:

  1. Service providers

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  2. I agree with the term 'service providers' (and haven't actually heard 'water manager' before). I think the primary focus of most, if not all, water utilities in Australia and New Zealand (at least) is on providing water services to their customers.

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  3. A former boss told me when he came back from the 2nd World Water Forum: "In these water management meetings there are a lot of water experts, but no management professionals". Wisdom.

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  4. Water Stewards. I think there a need for a fundamental shift in the way water utilities define their role. Traditionally utilities have seen their role as water providers - with an emphasis on procurement - to meet the demands of their customers. This is an outdated model in this era of water scarcity, climate change and population growth. Numerous water utilities are now taking more responsibility in shaping that demand and managing watersheds, rivers and streams etc. as a part of their duties. I think the term "steward" implies a responsibility to both the natural environment as well as the customers they serve.

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  5. @all -- good answers. Amelia, look at this [pdf] on the "duty of care." Useful foundation.

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  6. The link does not work David.

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  7. here: http://www.myoung.net.au/water/publications/Duty_of_care-final.pdf

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