The highly anticipated 2014 Blue Drop report has been released. The report indicates a reduction of 8% in the national average score from 87,6 % in 2012 to 79,6% in 2014.
Despite this, the Department of Water and Sanitation maintains that South Africa’s water is still among the best in the world. “Even though the number of water systems achieving Blue Drop status decreased by 55%, 533 systems (51%) have improved scores compared to the previous audit cycle with seven systems attaining Blue Drop status for the first time,” the report read. A total of 44 systems out of just over 1,000 systems achieved Blue Drop status. However, despite the decline of water quality during the 2012 – 2014 period, countries in the first world region such as Turkey, Russia, Hungary and Serbia were considered not to have safe tap water in 2014. This is according to the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Provincial Blue Drop scores
Each provinces rating for 2014 was as follows:
- Gauteng leads with an overall Blue Drop score of 92% with 97% of its systems in low risk category
- The Western Cape had a score of 89%
- KwaZulu- Natal had a score of 86%
- Mpumalanga showed an 8% improvement compared to 2012 with an overall Blue Drop score of 69%
- The Free State and Eastern Cape scores declined from 82% in 2012 to 75% and 72% respectively in 2014
- Limpopo and the North West Provinces are lagging behind with their scores declining by 17% from 79% in 2012 to 62% and 63% respectively in 2014
Delayed release of the report
The release of the report has been delayed since 2015. Officials within the sector said budgetary constraints and a shortage of staff contributed to the delay of the 2014 report as well as more recent Blue Drop reports. The 2014 Blue Drop report has also become the subject of Promotion of Access to Information Act applications, which were lodged in an effort to get the water department to release the full findings. The department said it has planned to complete a draft 2016 Blue Drop report by the end of October 2017.