The civil rights organisation AfriForum is positive about developments with respect to water-quality management in areas throughout South Africa where their branches are situated. The AfriForum blue and green-drop campaign tested the quality of drinking and sewage water in 132 towns in March this year.
‘It is incredible to see organised communities taking responsibility and standing up for their rights and monitoring the quality of the water provided by their municipalities. Those towns that did not previously comply with regulations were taken to task by AfriForum and we have seen a significant improvement in general,’ said Julius Kleynhans, AfriForum Head of Environmental Affairs.
AfriForum tested the quality of drinking water in 132 towns, and only five municipalities did not comply with the quality standards for drinking water. ‘Last year, 11 out of 107 drinking water systems were not up to standard,’ said Kleynhans.
The blue-drop results indicated that five municipalities did not comply with water quality standards, namely:
- Molteno – Inkwanca Local Municipality: E. coli.
- Stella – Naledi Local Municipality: excess nitrates. The samples indicated 50 mg of nitrates per 100 ml of water, which may cause methaemoglobinaemia in infants, according to the South African Water Quality Guidelines Volume 1: Domestic Water Use, second edition, 1996.
- Tarkastad – Tsolwana Local Municipality: E. coli.
- Coligny – Ditsobotla Local Municipality: E. coli (for the second year in a row).
- Vryheid – Abaqulusi Local Municipality: E. coli.
* There may be no e. coli in drinking water according to SANS: 241 national standards.
The communities were informed by AfriForum not to drink the water and the municipalities were put on terms to rectify the quality of their water. Follow-up samples indicated that the water was clean.
AfriForum also tested 58 sewage water systems, of which 26 did not comply with quality standards. ‘Various municipalities shut their doors to us, denying AfriForum access to sample their waste water quality this year. This is understandable considering the dreadful state of waste water management in general in the country. However, we have seen significant improvement in access control to these sites, and 15 sewage systems have improved dramatically, complying with quality standards on the dates tested,’ added Kleynhans.
‘The results emphasised that the 26 waste water treatment works that did not comply pose a threat to human health, food security and the environment,’ Kleynhans added. South Africa’s national water quality standards make allowance for 1 000 units of E. coli per 100 ml of water in treated sewage.
Municipalities that did not comply are the following:
|Branch||Municipality||Province||Green drop AfriForum 2013||Green drop AfriForum 2014||Green drop AfriForum 2015|
|Barkley East||Senqu Municipality||Eastern Cape||2000|
|Belfast||Emakhazeni LM||Mpumalanga||19 000||690 000||5 200|
|Bethel||Goven Mbeki LM||Mpumalanga||450 000|
|Centurion||Tshwane Metro||Gauteng||10 000|
|Christiana||Lekwa-Teemane LM||North-West||3 500|
|Dullstroom||Emakhazeni LM||Mpumalanga||2 000|
|Elliot||Sakhisizwe LM||Eastern Cape||36 000||Discarded||4 000|
|Ermelo||Msukaligwa LM||Mpumalanga||Green drop||310 000||590 000|
|Kimberley||Sol Plaatje LM||Northern Cape||1500|
|Klerksdorp||City of Matlosana||North-West||>40 000||>1000|
|Kroonstad||Moqhaka LM||Free State||Clean||Discarded||> 1 000 000|
|Langkloof (Joubertina)||Kou-Kamma LM||Oos-Kaap||Green drop||11 500||12 000|
|Lichtenburg||Ditsobotla LM||North West||> 120 000||59 000||4 000|
|Lydenburg||Thaba Chweu LM||Mpumalanga||1 000 000||73 400|
|Newcastle||Newcastle LM||KwaZulu-Natal||10 000|
|Oudtshoorn||Oudtshoorn LM||Western Cape||Clean||> 1000 000|
|Petrus Steyn||Nketoana LM||Free State||14 000||> 1 000 000|
|Reitz||Nketoana LM||Free State||2 500|
|Silverton||Tshwane Metro||Gauteng||2 400||11 000|
|Springs||Ekurhuleni Metro||Gauteng||2 400||2 400|
|Standerton||Lekwa LM||Mpumalanga||100 000|
|Stella||Naledi LM||North West||10 000|
|Theunissen||Masilonyana LM||Free State||25 000|
|Vredendal||Matzikama LM||Western Cape||Clean||Clean||8 000|
|Winburg||Masilonyana LM||Free State||2 000||Clean||10 000|
The outcome of the 2015 survey will be used to monitor the same infrastructure, and more, in future.
AfriForum will position itself throughout South Africa to use all the relevant resources to ensure that issues are addressed immediately in order to conserve this precious resource. Letters on non-compliance are currently being served on municipalities.
AfriForum is still concerned with the state of water quality throughout the country. ‘According to the Department of Water and Sanitation’s blue and green-drop reports for 2013, 1 009 drinking water systems were assessed, of which only approximately 263 complied with blue-drop status standards. The green-drop report indicated that only 60 out of 824 waste water systems had received green-drop status,’ said Kleynhans.
‘It is essential that we continuously monitor our drinking and sewage water quality. We must protect this critical resource and ensure that what happened in Bloemhof in 2014 does not repeat itself,’ said Kleynhans.
SMS the name of your town to 45354 to join AfriForum in its initiative to ensure the sustainable use and protection of our water resources (R1/SMS).
View Blue and Green Drop Project Report 2015 here .