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13 November 2023


In response to numerous complaints concerning Montagu water quality, particularly about the taste and smell of the water, the following explanation hopes to address our residents' concerns and the inconvenience caused.

UPDATE NOTE: The water monitoring shows that the water quality is improving significantly in Montagu since 16 Nov 2023. There may be a slight earthy smell remaining, this is being attended to. The water is safe for human consumption.

Montagu gets its water from a variety of sources, including CBR, Reitvlei, boreholes, and water pumped from Ashton storage dams. These are independently tested in accordance with SANS 241 requirements.

Since becoming aware of the problem of water discoloration and odor, the municipality has moved between water sources in order to provide better water quality to users. This appeared to address the problem, however during November 2023 we noticed that the same problem occured. 

Despite the sulphurous odor, the water quality meets water quality standards. However, the municipality understands that this is not normal and is currently working on solutions to address the taste and smell of the water.

Water retained in storage dams contains water of varying quality depending on the depth within the dam; hence, normal operations is to abstract water from two levels, high and low. This enables water to be blended to ensure optimal water quality, while meeting the required water demand. When the dam is low, only the low-level abstraction is effective, but it cannot entirely meet the demand.

The problem of smell can originate from the bottom of the dam due to sediment reacting with iron in the water which activate the sulphur bacteria in the water. The blending of water helps mitigate this effect if it occurs.

South Africa is experiencing a severe shortage of 70kg chlorine gas, which is required by municipalities to disinfect its water. Earlier in 2023, the municipality was forced to discover alternate disinfection methods, and it is currently using chlorine tablet dosage. The raw inflow is currently treated with pre-chlorination to reduce odor and improve water quality.

The municipality seeks to improve its operational procedures in this regard. We have also requested an independent Laboratory to do detailed testing and are currently awaiting the results. 

We appreciate our residents' patience and cooperation throughout this time and apologise for any inconvenience.

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