Blue Drop Certification Programme Introduction
The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry initiated the Blue Drop Certification Programme on 11 September 2008 with the objective of:
Introducing incentive-based regulation of the drinking water quality management function;
Introducing key requirements for effective and efficient managment of drinking water quality by water services institutions;
Initiating transparency on the actual drinking water quality management performance of water services institutions;
Provide information to the public on DWQ performance per water supply system (to prevent generalization), and;
Facilitating closer working relationships between Water Services Authorities and Water Services Providers (where relevant).

It is a legislative requirement that waterservices institutions have suitable monitoring programmes in place,and this would include compliance monitoring. The drinking waterquality regulation programme identified a significant limitation in an approach which entirely depends upon compliance monitoring Blue Drop Regulatory Report Card 3 only, since ensuring the safeness of tap water requires proactive preventative management. The introduction of the certification programme ensures that the SouthAfrican waterservices sector adopts the required preventative approach towards the management and regulation of drinking water. Compliance monitoring remains an integral part of DWQmanagement though, but with the key purpose of gauging the efficacy of the manner in which the quality of tap water is being managed.

The Department deemed it as encouraging noting the manner in which municipalities and water providers responded to meet with there quirements of the Blue Drop Certification programme during the 2009 assessment round. This served as indication that the introduction of this incentive based regulation approach stimulated renewed energy in the sector towards compliance.

Blue Drop Report Card Scoring Criteria
Criteria Score Symbol Description Requirements

Adequacy of Process
Control, Maintenance and Management Skill

100% (10) A Fully complies with all requirements.
  1. Treatment  works complying with Reg.2834 of Water Act., in terms of Classification and Registration. (20%)
  2. Process Controllers are complying with skills requirements of Reg. 2834 of Water Act. (50%)
  3. Availability of skilled maintenance skills. (10%)
  4. Operations and Maintenance manual is in place. (20%)
80-90% (8-9) B

Complies with all requirements except for 1.

70% (7) C

Not complying with 2 Requirements.

50% (5) D

Not complying with criteria No. 2 or complying with No.2 and none of the other.

30% (3-4) E

Not complying with criteria No. 1 & 2 or No.2 & 4.

10-20% (1-2) F

Not complying with the majority of the requirements.

0% (& no info) G

Not complying with any of the requirements or the complete lack of info.

Top Efficiency of Drinking Water Quality Monitoring Programme Credibility of Drinking Water Sample Analysis


100% (20) A

Fully complies with all requirements.

  1. Operational monitoring efficiency. (20%)
  2. Compliance monitoring efficiency. (40%)
  3. Adequate monitoring coverage or distribution network. (20%)
  4. Number of key analysis (e.g. E-coli) per population served (regulatory yardstick is a minium of 1:10 000)
80% (16) B

Complies with all requirements except for 1.

60% (12) C

Not complying with requirement No.2 and another requirement. Or not complying with any other 3 requirements.

40% (8) D

Only complying with Requirement No.2 or any other 2 criteria.

20-30% (4) F

Not complying with majority of the criteria. Only complying with one requirement.

0% (& no info) G

Not complying with any of the requirements or the complete lack of info.

100% (5) A

Fully complies with all requirements.

  1. Proof to be provided of the laboratory used.
  2. Laboratory is either accredited or participates in an accredited Proficiency Scheme (obtaining an aceptable Z-score).
  3. Proof that analysis results are used to improve process controlling.
80% (4) B

Complies with all requirements except for Requirement No.1.

 70 % (3.5) C

Complies with all requirements except for Requirement No.3.

50% (2.5) D

Not complying with Requirement No.2. Or not complying with Requirements 1 & 2.

30% (1.5) E

Only complying with Requirement No.3.

20% (1) F Only complying with No.1
0% (& no info) G

Not complying with any of the requirements or the complete lack of info.

Regular Submission of Drinking Water Quality Results to DWAF 100% (12/12 months) A Fully complied with criterion.
  1. Results must be submitted 12 months a year.
0% (<10 months) G Less than 12 sets of data submitted to DWAF.  No data submitted.

Top Drinking Water Compliance with the South African National Standard (SANS 241) 100% (35) A Fully complies with criteria.
  1. Provided adequate figures/information on monitoring data for compliance calculation.
  2. Complies with more than 99% of key bacteriological limits and more that 95% of key chemical limits.
80% (28) C

Complies with more than 99% of key bacteriological limits and more than 95% of key chemical limits. But could not provide sufficient monitoring information.

20% (7) E

Provided sufficient monitoring information but did not comply with excellence limits of SANS 241

0% G

Did not comply with both sub criteria or failed to submit sufficient data for assessment purposes.

Drinking Water Quality Failure Response Management 100% (20) A Fully complies with criteria.  
60% (12) C

Have evidence to proof incident management control,but has no documented protocol.

40% (8) E

Has a documented protocol in place but not evidence to proof implementation.

0% G

No complying with criteria or failed to submit sufficient information for assessment purposes.

Drinking Water System Blue Drop Performance Rating
Top 100% Exceptional Drinking Water Quality Management

This score implies that the water services institutions complies 100% with all Blue Drop Certification Criteria.  DWAF has full confidence in the management ability of water services institutions involved in treating, monitoring and managing drinking water in the specific water supply system.  This institution/municipality fully comprehends its responsibility to continuously act in a proactive/preventative manner to ensure safe water supply.
95 - 99% Managing Drinking Water Quality with Excellence

Compliance with this scoring category implies that the specific water supply system qualifies for Blue Drop Certification.  If sufficient information is available to support the scoring, Blue Drop acknowledgement will be issued.  This would imply that DWAF has confidence that the water services institutions (municipality) is capable of sustaining safe quality of water supply and will act responsibly when deviaton in tap water quality is detected (which might pose a health risk) through continuous efficient operational and compliance monitoring.
80 - <95% Very Good Drinking Water Quality Management. (DWQM)

Scoring in this category implies that the municipality/institution have very good systems in place to effectively manage the quality of drinking water in this specific supply zone.  However there are shortcomings which prevent it from becoming a Blue Drop certified system.  Improvement towards certification is within reach.
60 - <80% Good Drinking Water Quality Management. (DWQM)

There is sufficient proof that the municipality/ institution has adequate processes in place to ensure safe water supply.  However there is room for improvement towards Blue Drop certification, since portions of the requirements are not complied with as yet.
50 - <60% Reasonable (Satisfactory). (DWQM)

The municipality/institution has an average level of ability and understanding to manage DWQ according to most of the regulatory criteria.  However this is not sufficient to ensure full confidence from DWAF in the ability of the systems and those responsible for DWQ management in this specific water supply system.
33.3 - <50% Improvement Required in Drinking Water Quality Management. (DWQM)

While the municipality/institution might still be in the position to provide safe drinking water most of the time, DWAF has a lower level of confidence in the institution's ability to sustain the provision of safe water.  Therefore a concerted effort is required to improve in the various areas of DWQ management to ensure the public's confidence in the quality of safe water supply at all times.
<33.3% Significant Improvement Required in DWQM

This score is an indication of inadequate DWQ Management (probably incl. Monitoring, Treatment and Planning) efficiency levels.  Urgent intervention is required by the municipal/institutional management to ensure drastic improvement towards the point where the public and DWAF could have confidence in the manner DWQ is being managed.  At the current level of performance an extreme low level of confidence would prevail.
Ref: DWAF:  Blue Drop Report 2009_ Version 1South African Drinking Water Quality Management Performance.