Only 5% of South Africa's Water Supplies Get Blue Drop Certification

By Kemantha Govender

Durban - The City of Joburg has landed the number one spot on the national top ten Blue Drop Performers.

Releasing the Blue Drop 2010 report on Monday, Deputy Minister of Water Affairs Rejoice Mabudafhasi said out of 787 municipal water authorities assessed, only 38 received Blue Drop Certification.

"I am encouraged that our municipalities have intensified their own efforts to ensure improved water quality as reflected in the 2010 Blue Drop report."

To achieve Blue Drop Certification, areas assessed must score 95 percent or higher for its compliance with chemical and microbiological standards.

Mabudafhasi said the report indicated a general trend of improvement in the management of drinking water quality.

The City of Joburg was followed closely by the City of Cape Town. Bitou, Kgatelopele and George Local Municipalities came in third, fourth and fifth respectively.

The Ekurhuleni Metro, Mogale City and City of Tshwane were placed sixth, seventh and eighth places respectively, while the eThekwini and Dr J S Moroka municipalities occupied ninth and tenth place.

Nine water service authorities were slammed for choosing not to be assessed.

The report said that the nine, out of 162 water service authorities, "were found to portray a disregard for drinking water quality management when they chose not to adhere to the call to be assessed".

These local municipalities were Breede River, Delmas, Dipalseng, Metsimaholo, Moqhaka, Moretele, Musukaligwa and Pixley ka Seme.

"The quality of water in those systems which fail to obtain Blue Drop Status is not necessarily poor or unsafe to drink. It would rather be indicative of areas still requiring improvement," said Mabudafhasi.

Although South Africa's drinking water is regarded as adequately managed by world standards, Mabudafhasi said government acknowledged that the odd failure does occur, adding that failure is the exception and not the rule.

On Thursday, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, during her Budget Vote said her department would double its efforts to multiply the number of municipalities awarded with Blue Drop certificates.

"The 2010 FIFA Host Cities Blue Drop Certification Report on Drinking Water Quality rated all our host cities as 'excellent', this is not only highly encouraging, but sets the bar at a high level for others to emulate," Sonjica said. - BuaNews