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Water security

3 May 2024 Media Release: Ensuring Access to Safe Water: The Vital Role of Environmental Health Practitioners

Media Release: Ensuring Access to Safe Water: The Vital Role of Environmental Health Practitioners

3 May 2024

The Constitution of South Africa states that: “Everyone has the right to have access to sufficient water “(Section 27 (1) (b).

Water that is unsafe for consumption poses a serious health risk. Those at greatest risk of water borne diseases are infants, the elderly, immune compromised individuals, and those living in settlements without basic water supply and sanitation services.

This is why water quality monitoring is important and encompasses a range of actions by Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP), aimed at ensuring the safety and purity of water sources accessible to communities. These actions include the following:

  • Collecting water samples for laboratory analysis.
  • Conducting field test on public water supply sources.
  • Conducting inspections as part of Municipal Health surveillance programmes.

The role of the EHP: Water Quality Monitoring of Water tanker trucks: 

  • Water trucking refers to the bulk transport of water from the source to a storage facility near a distribution point. During the acute and stabilisation phases of an emergency, these trucks may be used to provide short-term transport of water to communal water points.
  • The water transported in tanker trucks to various identified sites within a community should be considered as originating from a non-water service authority source, as it is no longer within the closed reticulation pipe system.

Water is distributed through various methods, including:

  • Transportation by water trucks.
  • The filling of private and communal water tanks.
  • The filling of reservoirs affected by compromised reticulation system.

The role of the EHP:

  • Sampling the water source (tanker truck/tank) and the water provider’s source to verify compliance with SANS 241:2015 Specifications for drinking water.
  • Ensuring the driver maintains a logbook to keep record of when the water was sourced and where the water was sourced from.
  • Each logbook should also record the truck cleaning schedule.
  • Documenting pertinent details of the tanker trucks, including registration and vehicle description.
  • Providing health and hygiene education to the community, including the cleaning of tanks and ensuring clean containers are used for the collection of the water.
  • Ensuring tanker trucks are easily cleanable, equipped with lockable covers, and have screened air vents to prevent contamination from animals and insects.
  • The EHP must conduct daily visits to healthcare centres including the local clinics to monitor whether any water-related disease outbreaks have occurred and conduct related investigations to ensure the possible source of pollution.

Through these duties, EHPs play a critical role in safeguarding public health and ensuring the provision of safe and clean water to communities.

For inquiries and further information, please contact the respective individuals in charge:

Region Person in Charge Contact Number Address
Klein Karoo Region & Kannaland Region Desmond Paulse, Manager: Municipal Health (Klein Karoo) Tel: 044 272 2241, Cell: 083 678 6530 94 St John Street, Oudtshoorn
Mossel Bay Monique Anthony, Acting Chief Tel: 044 693 0006, Cell: 061 445 1932 C/O Sampson & Marling Street, Ext 23, Mossel Bay

Featured image caption: Garden Route District Municipality EHP, Linden Herwels, ensuring water trucks comply with prescribed procedures.


23 February 2023 Media Release: Home Composting Workshop Empowers Garden Route Communities to embrace sustainable Waste Management

Media Release: Home Composting Workshop Empowers Garden Route Communities to embrace sustainable Waste Management

For Immediate Release

23 February 2024

The Waste Management Section of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), in collaboration with Mossel Bay Municipality and Landmark, successfully organised and hosted a Home Composting Workshop on 16 February 2024. This workshop aimed to educate and empower community members on effective home composting practices as part of the broader initiative to divert organic waste from landfill sites and promote sustainable waste management in the Garden Route District.

The workshop, attended by 30 enthusiastic community members, focused on two main composting techniques: Bin Composting and Vermicomposting. Participants gained hands-on experience and practical knowledge to implement these composting methods in their homes.

The key takeaways from the workshop included:

Bin Composting: Participants learned the art of composting using dedicated bins. The session covered the basics of layering organic materials, managing moisture levels, and turning the compost to accelerate the decomposition process.

Vermicomposting: The workshop delved into the fascinating world of vermicomposting, where participants discovered how to use worms to break down organic waste into nutrient-rich compost. The importance of maintaining a healthy worm habitat was emphasised for optimal compost production.

As part of the initiative, each participant was provided with essential tools to kick-start their home composting journey. The GRDM donated composting bins and established worm farms for the attendees. Landmark, contributed by donating the worms necessary for vermicomposting success.

Each participant also received a comprehensive guideline to assist them in implementing and maintaining effective composting practices at home. These guidelines serve as a valuable resource to ensure the continued success of their composting efforts.

The Home Composting Workshop exemplifies the commitment of the Garden Route District Municipality to develop a community-driven approach to waste management. By educating and empowering communities, the municipality aims to create a more sustainable and environmentally conscious community.

Participants who attended the Home Composting Workshop on 16 February 2024.


29 March 2023 Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality supports Western Cape Government’s Water Awareness Campaign in Kannaland

Garden Route District Municipality supports Western Cape Government’s Water Awareness Campaign in Kannaland

For immediate release
29 March 2023

The Western Cape Department of Local Government on 27 March 2023, embarked on a door-to-door awareness campaign in Ladismith (Kannaland) to encourage citizens to use water responsibly. In the roll-out of the campaign, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Disaster Management officials joined the Community Development Workers on 28 March 2023 to further enhance the initiative with the aim of reaching more residents of the area.

Garden Route District Municipality’s Disaster Management officials during the Responsible Water Awareness Campaign in Kannaland.

The Responsible Water Awareness Campaign runs in the Garden Route district until 31 March 2023. With this initiative messages of the importance of water and how to use it sparingly are shared.  An outside radio broadcast and activation at the Spar in Ladismith has already taken place.

The campaign was rolled out in response to the recent decline in dam water levels. The message has been clear –  reinforcing the need to save water, especially with the upcoming winter season.  The need to conserve water is a long-term behavioural change, and constant reminders are required to make the message stick, especially with the increased levels of loadshedding having a further impact on the provision of water.

This campaign will also be extended to provincial radio and social media pages.

By: GRDM Communication Intern, Jacqueline Thomson


7 March 2023 Alert: Garden Route Water Security Workshop is underway

Alert: Garden Route Water Security Workshop is underway

7 March 2023

Water is a precious resource that’s essential for all living organisms. The Garden Route region in South Africa is facing significant water challenges due to climate change, population growth, and economic development. Today, 7 March 2023, a meeting is being held to discuss strategies for achieving a water-secure future. Representatives from various sectors will identify key water-related challenges and develop sustainable solutions.
The proposal to designate the Garden Route District Municipality as a Water Services Authority for Bulk Water and Sanitation Infrastructure will also be discussed. This will enable better coordination and implementation of strategies to improve water security.
Achieving water security is critical for sustainable development, and all stakeholders are going to participate in the workshop.
Together, we can build a resilient and sustainable future for the Garden Route.

03 March 2023 Media Release: The effect of loadshedding on Water Quality

Media Release:  The effects of load shedding on water quality

For immediate release
03 March 2023

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.


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
Tel: 044 803 1300


09 December 2022 Media Release: The effects of drought growing and prolonged electricity disruptions are increasing

Media Release: The effects of drought growing and prolonged electricity disruptions are increasing

For immediate release
09 December 2022

Local municipalities throughout the Garden Route and the country at large, are experiencing difficulties because of the persistent load-shedding caused by ESKOM. This has a ripple effect on the supply of water, sanitation services and budgets of all municipalities. In light of this, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Council has given the GRDM administration the go-ahead to do everything in its power to avert any crisis that may happen as a result of the ongoing outages and drought. GRDM Disaster Management will coordinate the short- and long-term interventions required.

According to Ald. Memory Booysen, GRDM Executive Mayor: “The administration is investigating if declaring a local drought disaster is necessary, be it for one area, a few or the entire region”.

“We also need municipalities to state if they support the GRDM to become a water services authority or not because if we have their support we will stand a greater chance to become one and will be able to act more proactively to safeguard the region from water-related disasters.”

Over the past few months, the region grappled with below-normal rainfall patterns. Severe drought in particularly the Klein Karoo, vandalism and theft all over the region and other challenges have left many municipalities focusing a lot of time to do damage control.

Some of the public concerns raised are that water infrastructure is deteriorating; load-shedding causes frequent and continuous interruptions of water supply; repairs to leaks are not always done speedily; generators are not maintained; not all municipalities have water infrastructure maintenance plans in place for the foreseeable future.

The cost of generators and maintaining them remains a challenge. Not enough funding is speedily routed back from other spheres of Government to Local Government to roll out emergency interventions. It requires declaring a region as a disaster to be able to access large sums of funding. For instance, when purchasing a 100KVA generator to pump water from a borehole, a municipality would require more than R400 000 for the infrastructure, R40 000,00 for security per month per generator; more than R140 000 per month for diesel per generator; R10 000,00 for maintenance per month. This will then only serve one borehole.

The running costs per generator will, therefore, be R200 000,00 per month. This is on top of the estimated R400 000,00 to purchase one generator. Generators are also on backorder, meaning that the district will only be able to get generators in three (3) months.

See here: How load shedding is tearing through South Africa’s economy


17 June 2022 Media Release: World Day to combat desertification and drought: Blossom’s Emergency Pipeline Project

Media Release: World Day to combat desertification and drought: Blossom’s Emergency Pipeline Project

For Immediate Release
17 June 2022

The Greater Oudtshoorn region continues to be plagued by ongoing droughts, and alternatives have had to be found to ensure water security for the region. Since 2018, the water supply from the Raubenheimer dam was under severe pressure as the amount of water available from the dam, exceeded the amount that could be relied upon with a 98% degree of assurance. The future and ongoing supply of water in the Oudtshoorn area is severely constrained and drastic measures had to be planned to address the situation urgently.

Furthermore, the Vermaaks Rriver boreholes near Dysseldorp are used to maximum capacity and the Huis River, which supplies De Rust with water, is unreliable during the summer months, which holds negative implications for the Klein Karoo Rural Water Supply System (KKRWSS).

The Blossom’s Emergency Pipeline is a project that was started in 2001 to investigate and develop alternative and additional water supplies for the Oudtshoorn area. Nine deep, and three monitoring boreholes were drilled in the Blossom’s wellfield, which were monitored and tested for 13 years. The test was completed in 2014, and it was concluded that the boreholes yield enough groundwater to supplement the water supply from the Raubenheimer Dam. It was determined that 60l/s (5Ml/day) can be supplied from 5 existing boreholes within the C1 Blossoms wellfield. The test also found that the impact on the environment would be minimal.

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) approved a license for the total yield of 8 million m3/a for the ultimate full development of the Blossoms wellfield and gave the nod for the construction to commence. Originally, the project was intended as a medium to long-term bulk water augmentation intervention but given the current water crisis in the Oudtshoorn area, it will be implemented soon.

Funding for the current phases of the project, which started in February 2022, comes from the Municipal Disaster Relief Grant, which allocated a total of R47 million. To date, more than R150 million was spent, which was co-funded by DWS and Oudtshoorn Local Municipality. The current phase of the project is expected to be completed by March 2023.



13 December 2021 Media Release: Water flowing in the Olifants River brings some relief to drought-stricken farmers

Media release: Water flowing in the Olifants River brings some relief to drought-stricken farmers

For Immediate Release
13 December 2021

Widespread heavy rains over the past few weeks have resulted in areas in the Garden Route experiencing flash floods. Meteorologists globally attribute this phenomenon to a “La Niña” weather season.

Rains in the Klein Karoo resulted in the Olifants River (Afrikaans: Olifantsrivier) flowing again after being dry for an extended period. The last time the river had this much water was in 2006.

It rained twice a week in the Klein Karoo for the past month and the recent cloud burst over Oudtshoorn pushed large amounts of water into the Olifants River.

Mr Gerhard Otto, Head of Disaster Management at Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) said that the GRDM, in conjunction with the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), are carefully monitoring the water levels of the Olifants and Gamka rivers. They are also keeping a close eye on the upstream river water levels of Calitzdorp Spa.  “We have several early warning systems in place should the Spa be affected by flash floods,” said Otto.

This Olifants River has its origins in the Traka and Kalkwal Rivers north of the Swartberg, becoming the Olifants River after flowing through the Toorwaterpoort, flowing west through Oudtshoorn. It then joins the Gamka River to form the Gourits River and heads south to its mouth at Gouritsmond in the southern coast of the Western Cape.

Melanie Wilson, GRDM Manager, Economic Development and Tourism responded with enthusiasm about the rains by saying: “This is welcomed with open arms and will definitely give a break to the agricultural sector in that area.” She cautioned that the challenge still exists of the water running away from the area and that a system to store it is not in place yet. “This does not benefit the agricultural sector to the extent we’d like it to yet – those residing in the area barely cope with the severe drought that gripped the area for a few years”.

Otto agreed and noted that all possible measures should be taken to optimise every drop of rainwater, which is crucial for water-stressed areas like the Klein Karoo.

Although farmers are extremely grateful for each drop of water received, it must be noted that those who farm with stock, will only find themselves in a better position in about six weeks’ time. This is because grazing will become possible again, instead of having to rely on food pallets to feed the animals.

The levels of the major dams that provide drinking water for the Garden Route are as follows:

  • Garden Route dam: 100% – Source of drinking water for George;
  • Wolwedams dam:100,57% – Source of drinking water for Mossel Bay
  • Koos Raubenheimer dam: 100 % – Source of drinking water for  Oudtshoorn;
  • Korente Vet/ Poort dam: 104,23% Source of drinking water for  Riversdale;
  • Duiwenhoks dam: 102,38% Source of drinking water for  Heidelberg;
  • Roodefontein dam: 102,1% –  source of drinking water for Bitou; and
  • Calitzdorp dam: 64,55%- Source of drinking water for Calitzdorp.

The levels of the dams that provide water for irrigation in the Klein Karoo are in stark contrast to those in the rest of the Garden Route and the community remains hopeful that this will change. The levels of Stompdrift and Kammanassie are currently below 6 and 4% respectively.

Caption: Feature image: Olifants River flowing again after an extended dry period.