Water quality in South Africa: Is my water safe to drink?

Date: 30 May 2019

In January 2017, the latest Blue Drop report was released by the Department of Water and Sanitation. This water quality report showed that, of the 1 036 municipal drinking water systems evaluated, only 44 complied with Blue Drop status standards. Although this marks a decline in our water quality since the previous Blue Drop report, … Read more

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In January 2017, the latest Blue Drop report was released by the Department of Water and Sanitation. This water quality report showed that, of the 1 036 municipal drinking water systems evaluated, only 44 complied with Blue Drop status standards.

Although this marks a decline in our water quality since the previous Blue Drop report, the results are not as bad as they sound. South African tap water is still safe to drink.

The report does, however, indicate growing concerns about water quality in South Africa. This is especially relevant to those dependent on borehole water, as groundwater contamination is rife. Think acid drainage in Gauteng and the sewage catastrophe in the Vaal.

But what is water quality, exactly?

Water quality generally refers to the chemical, physical, biological and radiological characteristics of water. It measures the condition of water relative to the requirements of one or more biotic species and to any human need or purpose, such as consumption.

The Blue Drop certification process refers to the annual national municipality water audit led by the Department of Water Affairs that acknowledges excellence in drinking water quality management in South Africa.

Yet, if a municipality does not achieve Blue Drop certification it does not necessarily mean that its water is unfit for consumption. As mentioned, South African tap water is still safe to drink.

It is, however, important to take measures to determine the quality of the water your household uses every day.

South Africa’s standard for drinking water is called SANS 241-1:2015. The Department of Water and Sanitation monitors the quality of our drinking water according to this standard, and you can check the quality of your water at http://ws.dwa.gov.za/IRIS/mywater.aspx

Alternatively, you can test it yourself. Basic screening tests are available online, or you can send a sample of your water to a water testing laboratory. The latter option is expensive, but definitely worthwhile – especially if you are dependent on borehole water.

Regardless of where you live and where your water comes from, it’s always a good idea to put the health of yourself and your family first by investing in a quality water filtration system.

JoJo offers a range of water filtration solutions to suit various needs and households. You can find the perfect one for you at https://www.jojo.co.za/product-category/water-filtration-products/

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