Can I drink the Tap Water in Johannesburg? Best water filter for Jozi residents?

Can I drink the Tap Water in Johannesburg? Best water filter for Jozi residents?

Can you drink the tap water in Johannesburg? What are the common contaminants in tap water in Johannesburg? What is the best water filter for Johannesburg?

In this article, we're taking a deep dive into the world of Johannesburg's H2O, exploring its origins, treatment processes, and avoiding bottled water.

Where Does Johannesburg's Tap Water Come From?

Johannesburg's water supply comes from a variety of sources, including:

  • Surface water: Reservoirs like the Vaal Dam, fed by the Vaal River, contribute a significant portion of the city's water.
  • Groundwater: Boreholes tap into underground aquifers, supplementing the surface water supply.
  • Reclaimed water: Johannesburg is a leader in water conservation, implementing a growing network of wastewater treatment plants that produce reclaimed water for non-potable purposes like irrigation.

Source: Waterwise

How is the Tap Water in Johannesburg Treated?

The City of Johannesburg utilizes a multi-stage treatment process to ensure tap water safety:

  • Pre-treatment: Raw water undergoes screening to remove large particles like debris.
  • Coagulation and flocculation: Chemicals are added to cause suspended particles to clump together, making them easier to remove.
  • Sedimentation: The clumps settle out of the water.
  • Filtration: The water is passed through sand filters to remove remaining particles.
  • Disinfection: Chlorine is added to kill bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.

Source: Johannesburg Water

So, can you drink the tap water in Johannesburg? 

The answer, like much in Jozi, is a nuanced "it depends." Officially, yes! Johannesburg's water meets national drinking water quality standards (SANS 241) and undergoes rigorous testing by the City of Johannesburg. Independent studies by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) further confirm that Johannesburg's tap water is generally safe to drink across various suburbs.

However, many Jozi residents choose to filter their tap water for several reasons:

  • Taste: Depending on your location and building's plumbing, the tap water can have a slightly off-putting taste, ranging from metallic to chlorinated.
  • Infrastructure: Johannesburg has an aging water infrastructure, with some areas experiencing occasional disruptions or fluctuations in water quality.
  • Peace of mind: While the water meets safety standards, some residents prefer the extra security of filtration, especially for those with sensitive tastes or health concerns.

Source: SANS 241 water standard

Is the Tap Water in Johannesburg Safe to Drink?

According to the Department of Water and Sanitation's Blue Drop program, which audits municipal water quality, Johannesburg has consistently achieved a high rating for water quality, often receiving a "Blue Drop" designation for excellence. This indicates that the tap water meets all safety standards.

Source: Department of Water and Sanitation Blue Drop Program

What are the Common Issues with Tap Water in Johannesburg?

While Johannesburg's tap water is generally safe, some residents experience issues that can be addressed with filtration:

  • Taste and odor: As mentioned earlier, the taste and odor of tap water can vary depending on location and plumbing. Chlorine used for disinfection can contribute to a chemical taste, while older pipes might introduce a metallic tang.
  • Mineral content: Depending on the source water, the tap water might contain elevated levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium, which can contribute to scaling in kettles, appliances and showers.
  • Pathogens: Generally bacteria is not an issue in tap water in Johannesburg. However, for older buildings or buildings with water tanks pathogens could be an issue,
  • Potential pipe concerns: Aging infrastructure in some areas could lead to leaching of lead, other fragments or other minerals into the tap water.

Source: Aging water infrastructure

What is the Best Water Filter for Johannesburg?

Looking to elevate your Johannesburg tap water experience? Here's where Tappwater steps in! We offer a range of high-quality filters designed to address specific concerns:

  • EcoPro by Tappwater: This multi-stage filtration system utilizes 5-stage nanofriltration technology including organic activated carbon to effectively remove chlorine, taste and odor impurities, and even heavy metals like lead, making it a great all-around choice for Jozi residents. 
  • Ultra by Tappwater: If your primary concern is potential bacterial contamination due to aging infrastructure, the Ultra filter is your champion. It utilizes a combination of activated carbon and ultrafiltration membranes to remove not only taste and odor but also 99.99% bacteria and viruses, providing an extra layer of protection.

For businesses, restaurants and households with strict water filtration requirements also check out SuperiorOsmosis by Bluewater Group sold by Bluewater South Africa.

Bottled Water in Johannesburg?

Bottled water is readily available in Johannesburg, but consider the health, environmental impact and cost. Single use plastic leeches microplastics and hormone disruptors into the water you drink. Also, plastic bottles take centuries to decompose, and the transportation and production of bottled water create a significant carbon footprint. Filtering your tap water is a more sustainable and cost-effective option in the long run.

Conclusion on Johannesburg's Tap Water

  • The tap water that comes out of the water treatment plant is safe to drink according to international standards but may not taste good and can be contaminanted from old pipes
  • A high quality water filter such as EcoPro or Ultra by Tappwater will keep your water safe to drink
  • For better skin and hair shower water filters have proven to protect from the damage caused by chlorine and other substances
  • Avoid bottled water as it's generally less healthy, bad for the environment and more costly
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