Post blog update : 24 May 2014 - I may have been misled by the information supplied to me, more research needed.
Ah the internet ... it is so easy to get completely freaked out by what you read. I've been doing a ton of research on fluoride in water and it's made me really concerned. I decided I must have a water filtration system installed to get this poison out of my body because I drink litres of the stuff every day.
Next I went to Facebook to ask if anyone had advice on which system to buy. There was instant conflicting advice, all from people who's hearts were in the right place and who were just talking from their own personal experience. I went to all the websites suggested, called some the people.
One person in particular asked me something no-one else had : "Where does your water come from?" I had to stop a second to think about what he meant. Do you think to ask that question ever, and do you know the answer? I thought I knew, (turns out I didn't). Then he asked me what I wanted removed from the water. "Fluoride" was my confident answer! Well that's nice, except South Africa doesn't actually put fluoride in our water...
I spent half an hour on the phone to Harry who has got 40 years experience in the water industry. He didn't try to sell me anything, he just tried to educate me. Harry spoke more sense to me in that half an hour than all the research I'd done in a month on the net. Now that I knew the right questions to ask, I researched again.
- South Africa is listed as one of the countries with safe drinking water for approximately 80% of it's population.
- We have a Blue Drop certification system for drinking water management, (and a Green Drop certification system for waste water management), which was launched by the Department of Water Affairs in 2008.
- Read the 2012 Blue Drop Report.
- Most of the water in Gauteng is supplied by Rand Water, but also from Johannesburg Water and Magalies Water.
- The average Blue Drop rating for Gauteng was 98.1% in 2012.
- My water specifically comes from Johannesburg Water. They clean 65km of sewers and clear 2000 blocked sewers a month. It has 4 treatment plants, the largest of which cleans 300million litres of waste water every day! They test 500 tap water samples a month.
- Johannesburg is one of the only cities in the world not close to its water source, so it gets pumped 50km from the Vaal by Rand Water.
- Treated water from Joburg gets dumped into Jukskei / Crocodile river catchment, and Klip / Vaal river catchment. (I need to investigate this some more).
The situation isn't perfect for everyone, many rural areas still have huge water challenges. However our major cities of Jhb, Cpt and Dbn are considered very safe, and on cursory examination it appears that the suppliers are doing all they can to keep it that way.
Here are the Blue Drop scores for 2012 :
Read the latest Water and Environment Affairs Budget Speech - all great news for South Africa, and we are not running out of water. I also emailed Rand Water and the MD of Johannesburg Water to ask them if we put fluoride in our water, here are their replies :