Report confirms dire state of municipal water systems
Of the country’s 958 water systems, covering 144 water services authorities, just 26 receive top-rated government certifications
The water crisis in SA’s municipalities was laid bare in the government’s assessment report published this week.
The Blue Drop report evaluated all 958 water supply systems across 144 water services authorities. The evaluations considered factors such as infrastructure condition, maintenance, operation, treatment processes and staff expertise.
In 2014, 44 water supply systems received Blue Drop certifications for achieving scores above 95%. That number has now declined to 26 as increasingly dysfunctional municipalities neglect infrastructure maintenance and investment.
The report shows that the number of water supply systems in a critical state increased from 174 in 2014 to 277 in 2023.
Still, Overstrand was named the best local municipality in the 2023 Blue Drop water services institution category, followed by the City of Cape Town and the City of Johannesburg.
The Buffelsrivier, Greater Gansbaai, Greater Hermanus, Kleinmond, Pearly Beach and Stanford local municipalities secured joint first place in the best performing water supply system category. Overstrand local municipality was ranked second and iLembe district municipality third.
In Gauteng, three municipalities received National Blue Drop Certification — Meyerton water supply system in the Midvaal local municipality, the Ekurhuleni water supply system, and the Greater Johannesburg water supply system. All three are supplied bulk water by Rand Water.
In KwaZulu-Natal, uMngeni-uThukela bulk water service provider received certification for its uMgungundlovu water supply system, as did the Umsunduzi water supply system and iLembe district’s Dolphin Coast Ballito water supply system. uMgungundlovu and iLembe are also supplied by uMngeni-uThukela bulk water.
In Mpumalanga, certification was awarded to Mbombela-Umjindi local municipality for its Primkop, Karino, Mbombela and Matsulu water supply systems.
The JB Marks local municipality in the North West was also certified for its water supply system in Potchefstroom.
Eight municipalities were recognised for their no-drop performance, which measures water waste management — Berg Rivier, Bitou, Ekurhuleni, Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan municipality with a score of 81%, George municipality, Drakenstein local municipality with a score of 82%, Saldanha Bay local municipality with a score of 84%, and Langeberg local municipality with a score of 87%.
In the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality, the Faure water treatment works received the best technical score, followed by Rand Water Board’s Vereeniging water supply system, and Drakenstein local municipality’s Welvanpans water treatment works.
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