Minister Senzo Mchunu says his department is commitment to work with municipalities to resolve the sanitation challenges laid bare in the Blue, Green and No Drop Watch Reports, which were released on Tuesday.
The reports – presented by the department’s Director-General, Dr. Sean Phillips – indicated that there has been a decline in drinking water quality and an increase in non-revenue water since the last drop reports were issued.
The Green Drop Watch Report indicated that 50% of the municipalities, whose wastewater treatment systems were found to be in a critical state in the 2022 Green Drop report, have failed to develop and implement plans to improve them.
The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has issued non-compliance notices to 90 municipalities instructing them to correct the shortcomings that were identified.
The 2022 full Green Drop Report, released in April 2022, found 334 out of 850 municipal wastewater systems in 90 municipalities in critical condition, receiving Green Drop scores of 30% and below.
Reacting to the reports, Mchunu said the department would have to adopt a more robust approach in its interventions, especially where it deems it crucial.
“The results of the reports indicate that legislative reforms may also be required to ensure that water service providers are professionally managed, capable, efficient and financially viable institutions.
“The department is in the process of consulting with water sector stakeholders regarding such reforms,” Mchunu said.
To address the challenges highlighted in 2023 Watch Reports, the department said it has started intervening in many municipalities across the country to improve water and sanitation services.
The department further mentioned that the Water Boards are also assisting municipalities with technical expertise and management support.