The reinstatement of Blue and Green drop programmes could end water crisis
As access to clean water for the country continues to be threatened, the reinstatement of the Blue and Green drop programmes seems to be the only remedy to end the current water crisis.
This is according to a recent statement released by the Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) that calls for the reinstatement of the now curtailed Blue and Green and No drop certification programmes in order to save the failing wastewater treatment works in the country.
Although the minister of water and sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, had promised that these curtailed programmes would be reinstated, nothing has been said as to how and when this will happen.
“Of over 1,150 municipal wastewater treatment in South Africa, around 56% are in poor or critical condition and are in need of both rehabilitation and the services of skilled staff such as qualified process controllers, of over 960 water treatment works, 44% are likewise in a poor or critical condition.”
While Blue and Green drop certification programmes were in effect since 2008, they measured the most important indicators for safe water and wastewater delivery such as management commitment, safety and risk planning as well as mitigation and sufficient budgets staff qualifications. These programmes increased compliance and improvement across the water and sanitation sector.
“Unfortunately, the department has not commissioned these assessments since 2014, some of the leading municipalities and entities have nonetheless undertaken self-assessments to enable improved management in their own systems”
Spokesperson for the department of water and sanitation Sputnik Ratau has confirmed that the department is aware of the current state of wastewater treatment works countrywide because of the department’s regulatory function of identifying such works and that smaller municipalities are the ones who are mostly affected.
“The department, through its compliance and monitoring enforcement procedures, works together with local government to ensure compliance. This includes the issuing of pre-directives and directives. Where no positive response is received the department is allowed by [the] Act [of law] to follow law enforcement procedures” said Ratau
Ratau added that the process is underway to ensure all legal and capacity issues are addressed in order to ensure sustainability once the programmes are reinstated.