According to the National Health Act, Act 61 of 2003, drinking water quality monitoring is a function of Municipal Health Services.
The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) which renders the Municipal Health function, is the Water Quality Monitoring Authority that is responsible for monitoring the quality of drinking water in the Garden Route region. The drinking water quality monitoring programme facilitates closer working relationships between GRDM and B-Municipalities as Water Services Authorities. The Water Services Authorities thus providing and purifying the water.
The term water quality describes the physical, chemical, biological and aesthetic properties of water which determine its fitness for a variety of uses and for protecting the health and integrity of aquatic ecosystems. Many of these properties are controlled or influenced by constituents that are either dissolved or suspended in water.
It is a legislative requirement that water services authorities and institutions must have suitable monitoring programmes in place for effective and efficient management of drinking water and waste water quality and this would include compliance monitoring.
The Garden Route District Municipality with an area of 23 331km² is a Category C- Municipality and comprises seven local municipalities: George, Mossel Bay, Knysna, Bitou, Oudtshoorn, Hessequa and Kannaland. The Municipal Health function is a District Municipality function and in terms of the National Health Act of 2003 (Act 61 of 2003), Water Quality Monitoring is a function of the Municipal Health Section of Garden Route District Municipality.
The water quality monitoring function rendered by the Municipal Health section of Garden Route District Municipality includes the following:
- Monitoring of water reticulation systems.
- Monitoring of quality and availability of water intended for human consumption, recreation or use by industries.
- Regular taking of water samples for analysis
- Identification and control of sources of water pollution.
- Protection of water sources and resources by enforcement of legislation relating to the water quality.
- The taking of samples for waste water quality compliance.
- Enforcement of legislation to ensure a supply of water safe for health (Water services Act, 1977), Act No 108 of 1997) and South African National Standards (SANS Code 241: 2014, 2015).
- Introduction of corrective and preventative actions (e.g. making recommendations to relevant authorities).
- Implementation of health and hygiene awareness actions and education relating to the water supply.
The water quality monitoring programme of Garden Route District Municipality strives to provide accurate and consistent information to the public on drinking water quality performance per specific water supply system. Microbiological, chemical and physical quality of drinking water is determined through sampling at different sources towards a “catchment to consumer” monitoring approach. Sources of sampling include boreholes, rivers, dams, reservoirs, water purification works and taps.
A preventative and risk based approach is followed where risks that can compromise safe drinking water to communities are identified and reported to water services authorities and institutions to implement rectification measures towards unsafe and unhealthy conditions and health hazards.
Towns and places in the Garden Route District Municipality region where water samples are being taken on a monthly basis by Environmental Health Practitioners of Garden Route District Municipality include:
Albertinia, Boggomsbay, Brandwacht, Brenton, Brenton-on-Sea, Buffelsbay, Calitzdorp, De Rust, Dysselsdorp, Friemersheim, George, Gouritz, Groot Brakrivier, Haarlem, Heidelberg, Herbertsdale, Herolds Bay, Jongensfontein, Keurboomstrand, Knoetzie, Knysna, Krantshoek, Kurland, Kwanokuthula, Ladismith, Mossel Bay, Nature’s Valley, Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay, Rheenendal, Riversdale, Sedgefield, Slangrivier, Stillbay, Uniondale, Vanwyksdorp, Zoar, Victoria Bay, Vleesbay, Wilderness, Witsand and Wittedrift.