Municipal drinking water safest, says City

The City says that the safety of water from alternative water sources such as streams, springs and boreholes for drinking purposes cannot be guaranteed, as these sources are not part of the City’s rigorously tested formal municipal water supply provision.

The City’s mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services and energy, Xanthea Limberg, said as a result of the drought, some residents have started collecting water from various alternative sources such as streams, springs and boreholes for drinking purposes.

She said that the City is warning residents that the safety of the water from these alternative sources cannot be guaranteed because the sources are not part of the City’s rigorously tested formal municipal water supply provision.

Ms Limberg, said: “Should residents continue to collect or use water from alternative sources for drinking purposes, it is essential from a health and safety point of view that the water be boiled for at least one minute before it is cooled down, and stored in clean and sanitised containers.”

She also advised that water disinfection tablets are used as prescribed by the respective manufacturers, to further ensure the safety of the water for drinking purposes.

“Members of the public use these alternative water sources at their own risk. These ground water, spring and urban stream sources do not form part of the City’s formal water supply system and as such are not monitored and controlled to any drinking water standards,” she said.

“Even though we do not control the use from alternative sources, we do feel duty-bound to at least make residents aware of the risks involved,” she said.

Ms Limberg further said that the only source of safe drinking water remains the municipal water provided through the City’s reticulation system.

“This water is sampled from formal sampling points across the city on a weekly basis and analysed at the City’s accredited scientific services laboratory. The municipal water continues to comply with the SANS 241 standard for potable water.

“The City is proud of its blue drop status for drinking water and will continue to ensure that safe drinking water is supplied through its reticulation system,” she said.

Residents can contact the City through email to water@capetown.gov.za for queries or to report contraventions of the water restrictions (evidence should be provided to assist the City’s enforcement efforts), or they can send an SMS to 31373.

Residents and visitors should also visit the water page on the City’s website: www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater