City awarded Blue Drop Certificate for drinking water quality

Cape Town's tap water is of the best quality

Residents of Cape Town can be confident that the tap water they are drinking is of the best quality, after the City of Cape Town was awarded a 98% score in the Blue Drop Drinking Water Quality certification process.

This was the second-highest score in the country during 2010.

The Blue Drop certification process was introduced by the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) to monitor water quality and ensure that all water service authorities comply with national legislation when providing drinking water to consumers. These consumers can also be assured that they are receiving good quality drinking water.

In order to qualify for the certificate, a stringent set of criteria have to be met, and a water service authority must achieve at least a 95% score against these criteria.

These include the maintenance and monitoring of the catchment and storage areas and facilities; the pipeline and distribution systems; and the water treatment facilities and processes.

The quality of the water has to be monitored throughout the cycle, from catchment to the consumer.

The certification process also includes adequate staffing with suitable skills coupled to a training regime.

The certification process is done annually through a physical audit conducted by DWA officials.

In 2009, the City came in the top three in the country.

The City is fortunate that most of the water consumed by the estimated 3.2 million people in the Cape Town metropole comes from relatively unpolluted mountain catchments.

The water collected via the City’s catchments and storage dams and those of the Department of Water Affairs is treated at the 11 water treatment plants using state-of-the-art processes before being distributed to the consumer through network of bulk and then reticulation network of pipelines, pump stations and reservoirs. Throughout this value chain, the water is subjected to extensive monitoring and testing to ensure that our citizens receive a top class quality drinking water. More than 320,000 chemical and biological tests are performed every year, using the recommended guidelines which are laid down in the South African National Standards (SANS 241) for Drinking Water.

The City's distribution network covers over 10 000 kilometres.

By Martin Pollack on behalf of The City of Cape Town

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