Its 91 days to go before Cape Town hits #Day Zero, a day when water taps are set to run dry in South Africa’s second largest city with a population of four million. The city has been hit by drought weather condition three years in a row.
With water levels declining towards surface levels in the dams, there are concerns that water coming out from the depths of the reservoirs dams are unsafe to drink.
Is it still safe to drink tap water as we draw water from the bottom of the dams?
Tap water remains a safe drinking water resource as long as it continues to comply with national water standard requirements. While the water at the bottom of dams is often of a poorer quality because of particles that concentrate and settle, it takes extra effort and care to abstract and treat this water – which remains the responsibility of the City of Cape Town. Full weekly drinking water tests at dams, boreholes, treatment works and designated taps are run on our behalf, and treatment is adapted as required. Cape Town’s water quality can be reviewed on their water quality site. However, during water outages, pipes will stand empty and there is a risk of soil water flowing into the pipes at places where there are cracks. So when the taps are turned back on, be careful about drinking it. Basic treatment, like boiling, is advised in places where water interruptions have happened in our taps. It will be the responsibility of the City, to alert us if water quality changes and if certain neighbourhoods are experiencing problems.