South Africa has the distinction of being one of only twelve countries in the world where it is safe to drink our tap water. As at 2012, the good news is that the quality of South African tap water is ranked as third best overall.
South African municipalities have wholeheartedly embraced the international Blue Drop certification programme which is an incentive-based initiative that is used to regulate water services bodies worldwide in order to improve and maintain the quality of tap drinking water. Blue Drop certification covers a multitude of aspects of water management.
Deidre Nxumalo-Freeman, President of the IWMSA says “In South Africa, our constitution dictates that access to safe drinking water is a basic human right. The Department of Water Affairs instituted the Blue Drop programme in 2008 and since then, we have largely seen continuous improvement in the rankings of our municipalities in respect of drinking water quality.
“One source of our water is groundwater, water that collects underground from runoff; we consider it essential that people are aware of how easily our water tables can become contaminated through bad waste management practices. We also need to be vigilant when it comes to maintaining and upgrading the infrastructures that allow us to have a high quality of drinking water.
Nxumalo-Freeman concludes “Whilst our local and district municipalities are responsible for ensuring that we have access to safe drinking water, the quality of which must be regularly monitored and measured to see whether it matches up to national drinking water standards; we must all assist in the process and we believe that the IWMSA has an important role to play in creating awareness along with empowerment through information.”