News24

Host cities' tap water safe

2010-03-17 19:03

Cape Town - Tap water in the 2010 Soccer World Cup host cities is safe to drink, the water affairs department assured soccer fans on Wednesday.

Visitors could be certain the tap water in host cities complied with required standards, Water Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica told journalists, speaking in Cape Town at the release of her department's 2010 Host Cities Drinking Water Quality Management Audit Report.

According to the document all nine host cities - Cape Town, Ethekwini, Johannesburg, Mangaung, Nelson Mandela Bay, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Rustenburg and Pretoria - have achieved Blue Drop status.

Blue Drop certification means the city concerned has scored 95% or higher for its compliance with chemical and microbiological standards.

Remarkable improvement

The report shows Blue Drop scores achieved by the cities included 98.39% for Johannesburg, 96.36% for Tshwane, and 95.05% for Mangaung.

Audits of the host cities were carried out between October last year and February this year.

There has been a "remarkable improvement" in drinking water quality across the country, the report notes.

"For the past six months, the overall South African DWQ (drinking water quality) was measured at 96% on average for both microbiological and chemical determinants (across the country including smaller towns and rural areas).

"This compliance figure is evident of a remarkable improvement measured in the previous Blue Drop report (2009) at 93.3% for the previous year," it states.

Verifying quality

A new national Blue Drop report is to be released later this year.

The department also announced it had developed a "My Water" web page, which visitors could access to verify the quality of tap water in any South African town or city.

Speaking at Wednesday's event, water services technical regulation deputy director Leonardo Manus said visitors would be able to enter the name of the town or city they planned to visit to determine the quality of its drinking water.

Those with less than 97% microbiological compliance would be flagged with a red triangle.

Asked how many red triangles appeared on the website, he responded: "On average, if we have about 8 500 (microbiological) samples taken a month, then there would be failures in the vicinity of about 190."