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Blue Drop Progress Report– Mafube residents at risk

As Mafube Business Forum (MBF) have repeatedly stated, access to sufficient, safe water is a basic right enshrined by South Africa’s Constitution. The Water Services Act (Act 108 of 1997) places the responsibility for provision of water services to Local Government, while the oversight and monitoring duties are delegated to Provincial and National Government.

MBF welcome the relaunch of the Blue Drop Certification programme, an incentive-based regulation first introduced in 2008, whereby the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) measure all aspects contributing to sustainable provision of safe water to the citizens of South Africa. This programme gives prominence to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Water Safety Planningconcept as the basis for a proactive, risk-based approach to drinking water quality management from catchment to consumer.

This risk-based approach extends to the compulsory South African National Standard SANS 241:2015 which is the minimum requirement for drinking water that is considered safe for human consumption. SANS 241 requirements include the microbiological, aesthetic, chemical and physical parameters and acceptable levels that do not pose a risk to human health over a lifetime of consumption

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) have published their Blue Drop Progress Report on 30 March this year with focus on the Blue Drop Risk Rating (BDRR) of each water supply system.BDRR assesses four critical risk areas namely:

• treatment capacity; • water quality; • technical skills; and • Water Safety Planning.

Risk-based regulation therefore allows the municipality to identify and prioritise these critical risk areas within its drinking water treatment process and to take corrective measures to abate these.

How are things at Mafube?

To residents of Mafube who have almost grown accustomed to regular water disruptions, doubtful quality of municipal water, Diesel, E.coli and Faecal coliform contamination, it should be no surprise that Mafube Local Municipality as a Water Supply Authority (WSA) scored among the critical risk category with a BDRR score of 95,1%.

For Mafube residents, there is thus less than a 5% chance that the water they are forced to pay for in advance through prepaid water meters, is of an acceptable standard.

The Blue Drop Progress report reflect that:

• The municipality does not conduct flow monitoring at any of the 3 supply systems under its control; • all three supply systems under the municipality achieved poor scores as Microbiological and Chemical water quality monitoring is not undertaken at any of the 3 supply systems; • alignment of staff (process controllers and maintenance teams) to the regulations requirements is lacking; • a SANS 241: 2015 WHO aligned Water Safety Plan, inclusive of risk-based monitoring, is also lacking throughout all supply systems; and • a serious health risk therefore exists to the consumers within the municipality’s area of jurisdiction.

The report summarises that DWS have no confidence in the quality of water supplied by the municipality, which echoes the opinion often expressed by MBF. Several recommendations are made in the report andMafube will be issued with a red note requiring the municipality to submit a detailed corrective action plan within 60 days of publishing of this report.

MBF will constantly monitor the water situation. Kindly report any complaints on our website at or send a WhatsApp message to Marina at 079 145 4295 or visit our offices at 18A Church Street during our business hours, on Mondays to Thursdays from 08h30 to 16h00 and Fridays from 08h30 to 12h30. Follow MBF on Facebook

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