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©giz2012 Introduction to Good Practices “It has seemed to me important to examine consecutively the lengths of channel of each aqueduct in its several parts and in detail. This is because the maintenance of the works is the most important part of the duties of this office and it is necessary that whoever is placed in charge of them should know which of them are in need of having money spent on them.”[1] If you work in the water industry, this quote will sound familiar. You may be surprised to know that it was written by the manager of the water system of the City of Rome in the year 90 C.E. – over 1900 years ago. If you visited the manager of the Rome, Italy water system today, there is a good chance he would say the same things. It is an on-going challenge to keep a water system in good working order. Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. But some things do change: the current manager surely has computers, laboratories to test water quality and machinery to maintain the works. There are always new challenges, technologies and op- portunities. Organisions that face challenges, adopt new technologies and take advantage of opportunities prosper. Those that maintain the status quo stay the same or decline. People are never perfect. Neither are organisions. And life is a journey – not a destination. We never finish. We can always be better. This section of the Impact Guidebook covers good practices – commonly accepted approaches to accom- plish a task or function. Some of them are applicable to almost any organision – like those on Human Re- sources. Others – like Capital Management – may not apply to every organision but are definitely important to water utilities. This introduction also covers the topic of Continuous Improvement – the ways that organisions always seek to be better. I. Good Practices A. Why are Good Practices Important to Consider? Good practices are those that other organisions have applied successfully to their benefit. If you do not do these practices now, you may also benefit, if you imple- ment them later. Using good practices shows people that you are doing the best you can to operate and manage your organi- sion. These practices will help you improve perform- ance and provide better service to your customers. B. Good Practice Chapters in this Guidebook The 21 Good Practice chapters cover a wide-ranging set of topics – from safety standards to forming a water as- sociation to service levels to customer service to water loss reduction. These chapters are listed below: