Water Quality Management
Rand Water has adopted the South African National Drinking Water Standard (SANS) 241: 2005 drinking water quality standard (95% compliance to class I and 99% compliance to class II) as a delivery specification. In addition, the organisation has a more comprehensive and stringent internal production specification, designed to provide a buffer and ensure the SANS 241: 2005 specifications.
Rand Water benchmarks quality water supplied to local authorities against the World Health Organisation (WHO) drinking water quality guidelines
1. Catchment Management
The rivers and dams in the catchments within Rand Water’s area of supply are extensively monitored and consumers are regularly informed on the water quality status of the catchments (see Water Analysis).
A number of water quality issues have been identified with regard to the current water quality in the Vaal River system. Some are related to the whole length of the Vaal River while others are localised.
An increase in salinity and related macro-ions has had the greatest impact on the use of water in the Vaal River. There is also an increase in total dissolved solids (TDS) and a concomitant increase in constituents such as chloride and sulphate, which have major implications for domestic, industrial and agricultural water users. The occurrence of microbiological pollutants as localised problems is also an emerging concern
The enforcement of pollution laws is ensuring that the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs (DWEA) and local municipalities are addressing these challenges.
The two most significant water quality challenges experienced in the barrage catchment are biological (faecal pollution) and chemical (gold mining and industrial impacts through sulphates, sodium, iron, manganese and heavy metals).
2. Tap Programme
The Tap Analysis Programme, a voluntary programme, which monitors water quality for the end consumer, has been running since March 1998 and covers thirteen of the twenty municipal areas within Rand Water’s area of supply. The programme has now been expanded to include the Emfuleni municipal area.
Consumers bring in water samples from their homes to be tested. All the results of the analysis are interpreted and given to them. These results have enabled Rand Water to build up a database of tap water quality for various regions in Rand Water’s area of supply.
The ultimate goal it to supply good quality water to consumers within Rand Water’s area of supply.
Home Treatment Devices “Jam Jar Test”
Request factual information when confronted by Salesmen who prey on your peace of mind
Some suppliers of home water treatment devices use scare tactics and ambiguous statements for marketing domestic water filters, often misleading consumers into purchasing expensive devices for supposed health reasons.
Some traders promoting sales of a home water treatment device demonstrate colour change in tap water as opposed to the absence of such a change in their filtered water. The demonstration unit comprises two canned fruit bottles with an iron and aluminium electrode in each bottle. These electrodes are connected to a power source.
As Tap water contains a certain amount of dissolved salts it is able to conduct current when the power is turned on. This causes one of the two electrodes to dissolve in the water resulting in a colour change in the water and the formation of visible particles.
The filtered water used in this experiment contains very low concentrations of dissolved salts. As a result, the water is unable to conduct current hence there is no reaction. Thus, scientifically proven it is not the water, but the electrode itself that causes the change in colour and the formation of visible particles in the water.
Facts: The true facts are that potable water is an important source of essential trace elements in your daily diet. Prolonged usage of water from which these salts have been removed could be dangerous to your health due to a shortage of these essential trace elements.
Warning: Users of home treatment systems should be forewarned that such devices have a limited lifespan and if not maintained in accordance with the directives of suppliers, these units may cause deterioration in the quality of the water being treated.
The water supplied by Rand water is safe for consumption and there is no need for consumers to install filter devices for health reasons.