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Water Situation in Oudtshoorn

Oudtshoorn, 24 January 2022 – Oudtshoorn had very good rains in November and December last year.  After the recent rains, Oudtshoorn is currently experiencing that the drinking water is slightly cloudy.

Unfortunately, the high intensity of the rain over the last 2 months has caused muddy water to flow into the dam and cloud the water. The turbidity is decreasing and the water should return to normal within a few weeks.   

The Raubenheimer dam does not have a water purification plant and the only treatment currently being done is the disinfection of the water by chlorination with chlorine gas. This is the situation since the construction of the dam in the early 1970s. Due to the exceptionally high quality of the raw water, it is found acceptable most of the time.

However, after high-intensity rainstorms, the water sometimes becomes cloudy and turbid water can be experienced for several weeks as the case currently.  The only way to get the turbidity out of the water is through filtration. The possibility of building a filtration plant has been examined by the Municipality several times with the last investigation in 2014. The finding was that a plant with a cost of approximately R100 million is needed to completely prevent the turbidity.

The increase in turbidity poses no immediate danger but may affect the effectiveness of chlorination. The quality of the water is tested and monitored regularly and recent tests have confirmed that there are no signs of E.Coli in the water (E.Coli is an indication that there may be potentially harmful bacteria in the water).

The Executive Mayor of the Greater Oudtshoorn, Cllr Chad Louw, said that he is aware of the complaints about the quality of the water, and would like to assure the residents that the water is safe for consumption.

Water situation in Oudtshoorn: Update

The increase in the turbidity of the drinking water does not pose a direct danger but can affect the effectiveness of chlorination. The dose at which chlorination is performed is currently being adjusted to allow for this. However, the Executive Mayor, Cllr Chad Louw, recommends boiling drinking water until the water quality returns to normal.