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On Tuesday, 05 December 2023, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), led by Minister Senzo Mchunu and Deputy Minister Judith Tshabalala, conferred awards for the best performing municipalities on their Blue and Green Drop Certifications as part of the release of the incentive-based regulatory reports held at Emperors Palace in Ekurhuleni.
The full Blue Drop and No Drop reports were released simultaneously with the ceremony held to also to recognise the top-performing Water Services Authorities (WSAs) of 2023, based on their assessments.
The Blue Drop report evaluated all the 958 water supply systems across 144 water services authorities. These evaluations considered factors such as infrastructure condition, maintenance, operation, treatment processes, and staff expertise.
In 2014, 44 water supply systems received Blue Drop Certifications for achieving scores above 95%. However, in 2023, only 26 water supply systems were able to achieve this feat. On the other hand, the number of water supply systems in a critical state of performance increased from 174 in 2014 to 277 in 2023. These statistics indicate a significant decline in excellence between 2014 and 2023.
DWS, the regulatory authority for the water sector under the National Water and Water Services Acts, implemented incentive-based regulation programs in 2008, discontinued them in 2014, and reintroduced them in 2021 with Minister Mchunu's support.
In Gauteng province, three municipalities have received National Blue Drop Certification. The Meyerton water supply system provided by Rand Water Bulk Water Service in Midvaal Local Municipality has been certified. Similarly, the Ekurhuleni water supply systems provided by Rand Water Bulk Service in the City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality have also received certification. Lastly, the Greater Johannesburg water supply system provided by Rand Water Bulk water supply systems in the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality is now certified.
In KwaZulu-Natal, three municipalities were awarded the National Blue Drop Certification for their water supply systems. uMngeni-uThukela bulk water service provider received certification for its uMgungundlovu water supply system. Msunduzi Local Municipality was awarded certification for its Umsunduzi water supply system pro and iLembe District Municipality received certification for its Dolphin Coast Ballito water supply system, both also supplied by uMngeni-uThukela bulk water.
In Mpumalanga province, the Blue Drop certification went to Mbombela-Umjindi Local Municipality for their Primkop, Karino, Nelspruit, and Matsulu water supply systems.
The JB Marks Local Municipality in the North West province has been awarded the prestigious Blue Drop Certification for its exceptional water supply system in Potchefstroom.
In the 2023 Blue Drop best-performing Water Services Institution category, the Overstrand Local Municipality claimed the top spot, followed by the City of Cape Town and then the City of Johannesburg.
Eight municipalities were also recognized for their commendable no-drop performance. These municipalities include Berg Rivier, Bitou, Ekurhuleni, Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality with a score of 81%, George Municipality, Drakenstein Local Municipality with a score of 82%, Saldana Bay Local Municipality with a score of 84%, and Langeberg Local Municipality with a score of 87%.
In the City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality, the Faure water treatment work won the Best Technical Score, followed by Rand Water Board's Vereeniging water supply system, and Drakenstein Local Municipality's Welvanpans water treatment work placed third.
In another noteworthy achievement, Buffelsrivier, Greater Gansbaai, Greater Hermanus, Kleinmond, Pearly Beach, and Standford Local Municipalities have secured joint first place in the 2023 Blue Drop Best Performing Water Supply System category. The Overstrand Local Municipality has been ranked second while iLembe District Municipality has secured third place.
Addressing attendees at the event's closing remarks, Minister Mchunu reaffirmed the department's commitment to working closely with local municipalities, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and the National Treasury among other institutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 6 (SDG6) by 2030. The Minister further acknowledged the decline in excellence and stressed that underperforming municipalities must prioritise meeting public expectations for quality water supply.
Issued by the Department of Water & Sanitation