The Department of Water and Sanitation’s (DWS) Blue Drop programme which was established to encourage continued progress and to acknowledge excellence in drinking water services management in South Africa is in the loom, and the George Municipality is ready to partake in this year’s programme that is set to start in September 2022.
The Blue Drop and Green Drop Certification Programmes are forms of Incentive-based Regulation (IBR) pioneered by the South African Water Sector since 2008. legislation, Water Services Act; Act 108 of 1997, Section 82 d, e & f. The programme seeks to focus on Improvement in Performance, Compliance and Efficiency.
George Municipality’s state of readiness for the upcoming Blue Drop Certification Programme
According to the Deputy Director for Water and Sanitation in the Civil Engineering Services Department in the George Municipality, Deon de Jager, the Blue Drop Certification is intended to monitor the drinking water quality supplied to consumers countrywide. “Both water quality and administrative aspects are combined in this certification with the emphasis being on the administrative aspects instead of water quality and George has put all the ducks in the row to be evaluated.”
“The first-round assessments for the upcoming Blue Drop evaluations are scheduled for September 2022. After the first-round evaluations, the DWS will, if necessary, allow the George Municipality to implement and report on corrective measures to be implemented, to enable the Municipality to correct and submit the required information,” de Jager added.
De Jager confirmed that the draft water safety plans have been completed. He also said that the water treatment process audits are underway, and the George Municipality is assisted by IX Engineers and Chris Swartz consultants. “All relevant personnel reporting to DWS have been registered on the IRIS reporting system. The George Municipal Water Treatment and Laboratory sections are working around the clock to ensure that we comply with all legislative requirements as set out by the DWS. Furthermore, the George Municipality is in the process of performing process audits on all its raw and potable water pump stations, towers, and storage reservoirs.”
Green Drop Certification – Updating its wastewater risk abatement plans and wastewater treatment process audits underway for George
Green Drop Certification is awarded to wastewater systems that obtain scores of 90% when compared against the criteria set for wastewater management. This assisted Water Services Authorities to strive for improvement in their management of wastewater as part of the incentive-based regulation approach. Green Drop Certification is awarded to wastewater systems that obtain scores of above 90% when compared against the criteria set for wastewater management, while a system that achieved less than 31% is regarded as a dysfunctional system which would require appropriate interventions.
The next Green Drop Evaluations is scheduled for 2023 (dates to be confirmed by the DWS). In the meantime, the George Municipality is in the process of updating its wastewater risk abatement plans and wastewater treatment process audits. Furthermore, the George Municipality appointed an external professional services provider to evaluate all sewer pump stations within the George Municipal area. All of this contributes to the evaluation criteria.
What is a No Drop Programme?
The Department of Water and Sanitation developed the No Drop Programme to draw attention to and encourage progress in water use efficiency and water loss / Non-revenue Water management in the South African municipal sector. No Drop Certification means that a municipality is accomplished in its water conservation and water demand management practice and receives public accolade and acknowledgement of its excellence in water supply management against a set of strict criteria. The No Drop has been developed in a similar framework to the Blue Drop (drinking water quality) and Green Drop (wastewater management) in 2013, followed by a partial rollout to all non-metro municipalities in 2014 and a full rollout to all 8 metropolitan municipalities in 2014/15. The No Drop evaluations form part of the Blue Drop evaluations.