Sherwood Park resident Zughdi Manuel was surprised to find this sign at the Muizenberg spring. Picture: Zughdi Manuel

Cape Town – The City of Cape Town says it can't guarantee the safety of water coming from underground springs and other sources.

This is in response to queries about why a sign was put up at the Muizenberg spring discouraging people from drinking the water.

A number of people collect drinking water from the Muizenberg spring, particularly as the Western Cape finds itself in midst of the worst drought in a century.

"Members of the public who use alternative water sources do it at their own risk," mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services and energy, Xanthea Limberg, said. "These ground water, spring and urban stream sources do not form part of the City’s formal water supply system and as such are not monitored and controlled to any drinking water standards."

Zughdi Manuel, from Sherwood Park, wrote to the Cape Argus after he visited to spring to find the sign had been put up. Members of his family who live in Muizenberg have been collecting water from the spring and when he saw the sign, he was concerned.

"We needed clarity because many families use that point for getting water, when we saw the sign I wanted to find out."

Limberg has urged residents to treat water from alternative sources before consuming.

"Should residents continue to collect or use water from the alternative sources for drinking purposes, it is essential from a health and safety point of view that the water be boiled for at least one minute before it is cooled down and stored in clean and sanitised containers.

"Residents are advised that water disinfection tablets are used as prescribed by the respective manufacturers to further ensure the safety of the water for drinking purposes.

"The only source of safe drinking water remains the municipal water provided through the City’s reticulation system. The water is sampled from formal sampling points across the City on a weekly basis and analysed at the City’s accredited Scientific Services Laboratory.

"The municipal water continues to comply with the standards as stipulated in the South African National Standard (SANS) 241 for potable water.

"The City is proud of its Blue Drop Status for drinking water and will continue to ensure that safe drinking water is supplied through its reticulation system," Limberg said.

Cape Argus