DWS collaborates with Makana Local Municipality to raise awareness on the impact of polluted water

6th June 2023

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) in Eastern Cape is working collaboratively with the Makana Local Municipality to raise awareness about the impact of water pollution and water borne diseases. 

The awareness campaign comes in light of water quality challenges faced in parts of the Makana Local Municipality, where E.coli bacteria was detected in water samples tested between February and May, from different water points in the municipality. 

The Department has since requested its entity, Amatola Water, to undertake further water test samples to ensure the safety of drinking water. Through ongoing tests being conducted, the Department can confirm that as at 27 May 2023, no E.coli was detected from the James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works which treats water for communities in Makhanda and surrounding areas. The treatment plant gets its water from the Glen Melville Dam which is channelled from the Lower Orange-Fish Government Water Scheme through various canal and river systems.

Furthermore, the Makana Municipality has procured chlorine gas to increase the dosage at the water treatment plant and is conducting booster dosing with chlorine granules in the four reservoirs including Botha’s Hill reservoir and Intermediate Reservoirs on the eastern side  as well as the Intermediate and High Level reservoirs on the western side. 

Adding to the community education programmes implemented by the Department and the Municipality, officials responsible for health and hygiene in the DWS's provincial office are deployed to Makana to distribute sanitizers and soap to members of the community. 

Municipalities are required to conduct regular tests in line with the South African National Standard (SANS) 241 on the treated water that they supply to households.  If the tests reveal that drinking water does not meet the required standards, then the municipality is required to immediately issue an advisory notice warning residents not to drink the water unless it is first disinfected using methods such as boiling or using bleach. 

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has also set out some guidelines that should be followed regarding safe drinking water. 

Water from rivers, dams, and streams are regarded as raw (untreated) water, and this water is not suitable for human consumption. The Department has urged members of the public to avoid consuming untreated water sourced from such water bodies unless it is first disinfected. 

As the water sector regulator, DWS is mandated by the National Water Act and Water Services Act to periodically monitor drinking water quality by collecting samples of treated drinking water from Water Treatment Works for analysis, in order to monitor its compliance with the South African National Standard (SANS) 241.

Issued by the Department of Water & Sanitation