Campaign to raise water pollution awareness in Makana

The Eastern Cape Department of Water and Sanitation is working in partnership with Makana Local Municipality to raise awareness on the impact of water pollution and waterborne diseases.

The campaign comes in light of water quality challenges facing parts of Makana Local Municipality, where E. coli was detected in water samples tested from different water points in the municipality between February and May 2023.

The department said it 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,” the department said.

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

Officials responsible for health and hygiene in the department’s provincial office have been deployed to Makana to distribute sanitisers and soap to the communities.

Municipalities are required to conduct regular tests, in line with the South African National Standard (SANS) guideline 241 on drinking water.

“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. Water from rivers, dams and streams is regarded as raw (untreated) water, and this water is not suitable for human consumption,” the department said.

The department has urged members of the public to avoid consuming untreated water sourced from water bodies, unless it is first disinfected.

As the water sector regulator, the department 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 SANS 241. –

Source: South African Government News Agency