Johannesburg Water has issued a statement explaining that an earthy tasting compound called geosmin has been detected in the drinking water supplied to residents in the City of Joburg, Sandton Chronicle reports.
The statement said: “The taste and odour will sometimes manifest itself in the potable water supply, the substances causing these odours are not harmful to human health, the problem occurs infrequently and is usually of short duration.”
The reason for this is suspected to be the warm weather causing the water in the Vaal Dam to experience blue-green algae resulting in an unwelcome taste and odour constituents in the drinking water. “Consumers may detect an intermittent earthy or musty taste due to the intermittent presence of geosmin.”
It added that the taste and odour problems were not unique to the Rand Water’s area of supply and were an issue worldwide.
“Johannesburg Water is committed to providing water and sanitation service that is of high quality to all residents of the city of Johannesburg and will continue to run tests to ensure the health of our residents is not compromised.”
Ward councillor Vincent Earp said: “As a councillor, I am pleased that Joburg Water has publicly announced that there is a problem and that they didn’t sweep the issue under the carpet.
“The greater the transparency from our service delivery entities, the greater the understanding from residents.”
He added that some residents did notice the odour from the water and were concerned.
“Constant communication by City entities to residents is essential. This will ensure that residents are up to date and aware of current developments and problems. Knowledge of issues will lead to greater understanding.”
Chairperson of the Parkmore Community Association Kate Wardle said: “We are grateful to the City for proactively communicating these issues via the local councillors. The water in Parkmore definitely does not taste right at the moment, so it is great to better understand the reason and that there is no safety issue to the community.”
For customer service enquiries, email on Customer@jwater.co.za or on Twitter @JHBWater or via phone call on 011 375 5555/ 011 688 1699.