Another Blue Drop for our water
By Tabisa Mntengwana
11 June 2012
ONCE again, Buffalo City's tap water is top quality, and it has been awarded Blue Drop status in the latest report from the Department of Water Affairs. The metro received four Blue Drop awards this year, which were handed out at the Water Institute of South Africa conference.
The Blue Drop initiative is in its fourth year. It is a national measuring tool to encourage the commitment and interest of municipalities in water safety. This way, it is believed, high standards of potable water will be maintained across the country.
All water treatment works are required by the department to be assessed under its Blue Drop Certification Programme.
The programme provides various mechanisms for municipalities to assess their methods of producing potable water, taking into account performance areas such as safety, risk management, process management, quality, and asset management.
"The Blue Drop programme is the reason South Africa is widely regarded as one of the countries where this concept is rapidly being entrenched," said Graham Cowley, the City's general manager of water, waste water and scientific services.
Buffalo City's four Blue Drop awards were for the Umzonyana Water Treatment Works, which supplies East London, Mdantsane and Duncan Village; King William's Town, which supplies King William's Town; and the Laing and Nahoon treatment works, which are both operated by Amatola Water.
Over 150 water service authorities were assessed this year throughout South Africa, says the municipality.
Buffalo City filled second place out of the 16 water treatment works assessed in Eastern Cape. "The overall score was the result of the assessment of four water treatment works - Umzonyana, King William's Town, Laing and Nahoon, and three borehole installations in Kidds Beach, Winterstrand and Ncera," said Cowley.
But there was still a lot of work to be done, he added, "which includes ensuring all operations and maintenance are on site and to avoid chemical spills".
An event to celebrate the achievement is planned by the metro's department of water, waste water and scientific services. "We are planning a function where the relevant staff can receive accolades for the work well done," said Cowley.
The national Blue Drop report was released at the Water Institute of South Africa conference, held in Cape Town in early May.