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At the Montreal convention in June, 1920, the American Water Works Association established its Council on Standardization. Among its purposes have been the stimulation and development of much needed investigation and review of various features of water works practice by committees of specialists; from 15 to 18 of these committees have been in active service during the past four years. Numerous committee reports have been prepared and discussed, in order to determine by an interchange of views what is most helpful among certain water works experiences for the general use of the water works industry.
While the development of such information along broad, practical lines is in itself well worth while from an educational viewpoint, a more important object sought by the Council has been the standardization of water works practice in various ways. To standardize, literally, the practices in many features of the water works industry would be difficult and is probably undesirable. But it is not so formidable an undertaking to set out procedures fairly representing the different prevailing views of many water works managers and their technical collaborators. Indeed, this result has been brought about in a most gratifying way by the activities of the Council's committees and the discussions of their reports by the general membership
There has been developed, largely through such committee effort, sufficient material to bring out a first edition of a MANUAL OF WATER
a WORKS PRACTICE. This MANUAL is the result of group effort. It is founded essentially on the committee reports and on papers with discussions presented to the Association in recent years.
During the past twelve months, about 50 members have cooperated in the drafting of material for the MANUAL, subdivided into 80 topics. This has been edited, multigraphed and sent in each instance for review to about 50 members, including committeemen engaged in activities closely associated with the topic in question. This plan has resulted in coöperative work by more than 300 members.
Although the resulting MANUAL will be found helpful to all interested in water supply, it has been prepared primarily for the three general groups making up the active membership of the American Water Works Association. These are: (1) the members of water boards and commissions, who shape the general policies of the works under their control; (2) the salaried officials who manage and superintend the works; and (3) the specialists who design, manage or supervise those parts of the works of a highly technical character. Parts of the MANUAL will be found more definite about details than others, but the various committees and authors have produced chapters which should be valuable, in one direction or another, to all of the above groups of membership.
It has been manifestly impossible to obtain complete agreement on all the subjects, particularly those of more detailed technical character. The chapters covering these latter aspects in this edition must be regarded, therefore, as careful, but somewhat elementary, presentations of the topics, rather than design "hand-book" data for the specialist. Inasmuch as the subjects are, in many cases, in a state of flux, in transition from the old to the new, the Council on Standardization has been confronted with the choice of issuing one of two kinds of text. One of these might incorporate the personal viewpoints, judgments and practices of a few individuals, while the other might reflect the principles and practices of a fairly adequate cross-section of practitioners in the multiplicity of water works activities. The Council has chosen the latter policy as the one that would meet most successfully the requirements and perspective of administrator, executive, staff members, student, teacher, and consultant. The adoption of such a policy necessitated obviously a more generalized treatment of some of the text than would otherwise be desirable. General usefulness, however, resulting from a coördination of group judgments, has been the keyword of the undertaking.
The MANUAL, as it now appears, can undoubtedly be improved. Such has been the history of the notable Manual of the American Railway Engineering Association. It is to be expected that our Association will similarly develop a keen interest in discussing its MANUAL in a way to bring about improvements in later editions. In fact, the MANUAL will doubtless prove an excellent stimulus of discussion at annual conventions and at regional and section meet