The city, which is the only metro in the country to be responsible for a full water cycle, was awarded a 2012 Blue Drop Certificate by the Department of Water Affairs for the quality of its water. A water service authority needs to score at least 95 percent for various criteria, including the maintenance and monitoring of the catchment and storage of the water.

In 2009, the city’s water quality was at 98 percent. In the final quarter of last year, the quality hit the 99.3 percent mark.

Water is tested at the city’s 264 potable water sampling points each week, and daily at reservoirs and during the reticulation process. These samples are delivered to the city’s Scientific Services laboratories where the water is tested for chlorine, bacteria and chemical composition.

Ernest Sonnenberg, mayoral committee member for Utility Services, said: “The key to efficiency and reliability is having rigorous and efficient systems in place. This ensures that the quality of the service we deliver remains high, and can continue to keep pace with growing demand.”

Sonnenberg joined the city’s Scientific Services on a routine testing of water at the Oranjezicht sampling point.

He said the staff involved were meticulous in their testing methods.

Cape Town had the highest score for water quality in the Western Cape at the last Blue Drop awards in 2012. “In other words, the integrity of our water distribution system is assessed from source to tap, and the City of Cape Town has passed with flying colours.”

Peter Flower, city director of water and sanitation, said efforts were made to minimise human contact with the catchment areas to avoid any contamination.