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Water Quality in South Africa

Water quality in South Africa is considered a difficult issue, and the country has struggled to supply some rural and local municipalities. People in urban areas, usually provided with fresh drinkable tap water, are concerned with the water quality of this year’s supply.

The engineered part of the water system in South Africa is heavily dependent on the healthy functioning of the natural water cycle. Water quality is poor due to growing pollution caused by urbanization, mining, deforestation and other anthropogenic causes. South Africa’s annual rainfall is 492 millimeters, which is only half of the world’s average.

After a few months of drought, dam levels dramatically lowered, causing a fresh water deficiency. Multiple complaints arose all over the country. Water quality in South Africa has been affected by unusual smell and color properties. Numerous instances of belly sicknesses were reported, and some people were hospitalized.

Governmental officials have been working to ensure that the sicknesses were caused by the seasonal change and from the turnover of the water in the reservoirs, which is to blame for latest water’s aesthetic qualities. Concern about sedimentary levels in water reservoirs, which were raised by the drought, has increased, as high sedimentary levels are dangerous for human health.

Further water inspection unveiled tap water compliance with the South African National Standard (SANS) 241:2015. Analysts warn that the climate change could impact water quality in South Africa. High evaporation levels and temperature increase can cause volumetric water loss. The decrease in its quality, specifically due to higher salt concentration and aging infrastructure, is in response to climatic demands.

Multiple organizations, such as WWF and the Blue Drop Certification System, are taking effort in prioritizing water safety. Their efforts are increasing awareness of the current situation amongst the population. Understanding responsible use in the current environment, in addition to growing a sustainable economy, will improve the ecological situation for all South Africans.

Yana Emets

Photo: Flickr