The effects of loadshedding on water quality

Loadshedding was introduced to South Africa in 2007, the country’s communities and various sectors have had to adjust to its inconvenient nature and effects.

The impact of loadshedding can be seen daily. Loadshedding also has an impact that we cannot see.  It has a direct impact on Municipal Services, specifically water and sanitation.  Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Municipal Health Services is responsible to monitor the water quality in terms of one of their Key Performance areas within their Scope of Practise.

GRDM Municipal Health Services monitor water bodies and water sources on a routine basis to ensure compliance with the relevant legislation.

The impact of load shedding on water quality and associated risk to human health

Pumping water, treating water, and distributing drinkable water all require electricity.  It is also used for the collection and treatment of wastewater.  Authorities may have backup systems that can help with the aforementioned during load shedding periods; however, these systems may break down for extended periods. With load shedding the procedures, become more labor intensified with associated risks.

Water purification systems

In the case where no sufficient amount of water is treated, water might not be available for drinking and hygienic purposes.

 This includes:

Cleaning households or very importantly food premises.  The communities will be reminded to the term “water is life”,  if taps run dry due to load shedding and not being able to drink treated water, or  even not being able to flush your toilet.  Untreated water can expose communities to various infectious bacteria that could be harmful to your health.  The most known bacteria is Escherichia coli.

  1. Coli can cause diseases like gastroenteritis, as well as ear – , nose and throat infections.

Agricultural sector

Water quality is of crucial importance for this sector in our communities.  Premises like abattoirs and dairy farms depend on hygiene during all the related processes and the availability of potable water plays an important part during all these processes.  Pollution can occur in rivers used for agricultural purposes. This can lead to accumulation of microbiological and chemical pollutants in crops and vegetation destined for the consumer.

Sanitation

Electricity is used in all the processes of sanitation from pump station until the final process of disinfection of sewerage.  Pump stations pump sewerage to the wastewater treatment plant. High-risk areas and priority areas might have backup system to ensure that the pump station does not overflow.

The overflowing of pump stations can have a detrimental effect on the environment and cause severe environmental health nuisances. Pump stations near recreational areas or rivers can pollute the nearby water source that is utilised by the communities.  Communities using these recreational areas could be exposed to skin conditions, gastroenteritis or even cholera.

The possibility of untreated sewage entering our water bodies is much higher during load shedding, especially with the increase of the load shedding stages.

Please report all overflowing manholes to your local municipality.

Report all vandalism of infrastructure during loadshedding – compromised infrastructure leads to compromised water quality.

Herewith the details for each regional office within the Garden Route District:

Klein Karoo & Kannaland
Desmond Paulse
Chief: Municipal Health (Klein Karoo)
Tel: 044 272 2241 / 083 678 6530
Address: 94 St John Street, Oudtshoorn

Mossel Bay
Monique Anthony
Acting Chief: Municipal Health (Mossel Bay)
Tel:  044 693 0006
Address C/O Sampson & Marlin Street, Ext 23, Mossel Bay.

George Outeniqua
Emmy Douglas
Chief: Municipal Health (Outeniqua)
Tel: 044 803 1501 / Fax: 044 803 1566
Address: Mission Street, Industrial Area, George, 6530

Knysna Region
James McCarthy
Municipal Health Chief: Knysna
Tel: 044 382 7214 / 082 805 9417
Address: 26A Queen Street, Knysna

Bitou Region
Gawie Vos
Municipal Health Chief: Lakes (Bitou)
Tel: 044 501 1600 / 083 557 1522
Address: 7 Gibb Street, Plettenberg Bay

Hessequa Region
Haemish Herwels
Municipal Health Chief: Hessequa
Tel: 028 713 2438 / 083 678 6545
Address: 23 Michell Street, Riversdale, 6670

Johan Compion
Manager: Municipal Health & Environmental Services
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: 044 803 1300

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