Reviving South Africa’s Drop Reports: An Effort Towards Better Water Management

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water management south africa

The South African Department of Water and Sanitation has reintroduced their Blue Drop, Green Drop, and No Drop Watch Reports. These regulatory mechanisms were halted in 2014 but were recently revived by Minister Senzo Mchunu in late 2021.

Enhancing Municipal Drinking Water Quality

The Blue Drop report assesses the state of all drinking water systems, including water treatment works, to enhance municipal drinking water quality. The report is released every two years, with the full 2023 Blue Drop Report set to be released in July. It covers all drinking water supply systems in the country, along with non-technical aspects such as the skills and qualifications of municipal staff.

Improving Wastewater Management

South Africa’s Green Drop report evaluates the state of all wastewater treatment systems, including municipal, Department of Public Works, and private systems. The report is also released every two years, with the full 2023 Green Drop Report set to be released in July. The Green Drop Risk Report will be released in July, identifying critical risk areas for wastewater treatment systems in the country.

Addressing Water Conservation and Demand Management

The No Drop report evaluates the efficiency of the drinking water distribution systems of municipalities and their ability to supply water without waste. The full 2023 No Drop Report will be released in September, based on water conservation and demand management reports received from a sample of municipalities.

Motivating Municipalities to Improve Performance

These regulatory mechanisms serve as tools to enhance municipal drinking water quality, wastewater management, and water conservation and demand management. They also provide the public and stakeholders with accurate data and information about the state of water and sanitation services in South Africa. Additionally, the reports recognize water services institutions that achieve compliance and excellence in providing these services, motivating them to improve their performance.

Taking Action to Address Findings

The 2022 full Green Drop report identified 334 wastewater systems in a critical condition, spread across 90 municipalities. The Department received corrective action plans from municipalities for 168 of these systems. The 2023 Blue Drop Watch Report revealed deterioration in drinking water quality since the last report. The 2023 No Drop Watch Report estimates that 46% of the total volume of water treated for municipal use is considered non-revenue water.

To address these findings, the Department has issued compliance notices and directives to relevant municipalities instructing them to correct the situation. Legal action may be instituted against municipalities that do not comply with these notices and directives. The Department is also in the process of strengthening its role as the regulator of water services and consulting with water sector stakeholders regarding potential legislative reforms.

Reviving Sustainable and Efficient Water Management

Through the revival of these Drop Reports, South Africa aims to improve water and sanitation services and work towards a more sustainable and efficient water management system for the country.

A Russian-Spanish journalist and Cape Town native, channels his lifelong passion for South Africa into captivating stories for his local blog. With a diverse background and 50 years of rich experiences, Serjio's unique voice resonates with readers seeking to explore Cape Town's vibrant culture. His love for the city shines through in every piece, making Serjio the go-to source for the latest in South African adventures.

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