Water unsafe in two regions of Eastern Cape
THE water in two Eastern Cape municipalities has been declared unsafe to drink and in two others it has been highlighted as needing attention.
Releasing the 2012 Blue Drop report on the country's water supply quality, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said yesterday that areas in the Sundays River Valley, OR Tambo, Ikwezi and Koukamma municipalities were of grave concern.
In Koukamma and Ikwezi she went as far as singling the water out as "not at all" safe.
"The unsatisfactory performance of Koukamma is reflected . noting the need for urgent overall improvement," said Molewa.
The municipalities in question provide water to towns including Jansenville, Waterford, Clarkson, Sanddrif, Stormsrivier and Woodlands. Risks to the water include high microbiological failure and a lack of commitment to respond to the problem, such as water treatment or the need for disinfectants.
Nationally, another 13 municipalities have been red-flagged as having unsafe drinking water, with five in Mpumalanga being the highest for a province. However, Molewa was insistent that on the whole South Africa's water was safe.
"I am pleased that, through our efforts, South Africa's tap water remains the best in the world and we are one of only a handful of countries where you can drink water directly from the tap."
She said the report showed that the overall national drinking water compliance figure was 98.93%.
Ekurhuleni came out with the highest scorecard of 98.95%, closely followed by Johannesburg with 98.92%. The top 10 included municipalities in Western Cape, North West and KwaZulu-Natal.
Mpumalanga and Northern Cape received the lowest rating with an overall 60.9% and 68.2% respectively.
Of the total 153 water services sampled, 98 received Blue Drop Award status. To qualify for this, municipalities needed to ensure they scored above 95% in adhering to the requirements of and compliance with the SA Bureau of Standards.
Requirements included risk management, personnel skills, management commitment and infrastructure.
Molewa said particular mention needed to be made of Victor Kanye local municipality, formerly Delmas, and Thembisile local municipality in Mpumalanga for scores that had improved "astonishingly" as a result of changes in the approach to management.