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How water cuts could affect your health

Water treatment involves carefully balanced chemical processes to ensure safety and quality.

SA’s water “crisis” is gradually becoming clear, as shown by the country’s widespread water shortages, municipalities’ difficulties maintaining water infrastructure, and, as one Komatipoort resident discovered, live fish emerging from the taps.

According to Bronwyn Ragavan, the brand manager for the water sterilisation product Milton, water shortages seem to be a reality for many South Africans, and despite still learning to deal with the lack of electricity, we now need to find ways to ensure we don’t endure the same with water.

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She said we overlook the water quality from our taps when we eventually turn the water back on.

“Water shutdowns, planned or unexpected, can impact water quality when service resumes. We might be happy finally to have water again, but we must think twice before filling our glasses.”

Ragavan stressed the importance of understanding how these interruptions affect water quality and can impact the safety and health of the community:

There is an increased risk of contamination when the water supply systems are shut down.

During a shutdown, the pressure in the pipes drops, possibly allowing contaminants to enter the system through cracks, leaks, or faulty connections. When service resumes, these contaminants can get flushed into the water supply.

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Water sitting in pipes during a shutdown can accumulate sediment and debris. The initial flow can stir up these particles, leading to murky water when the system is restarted.

While these particles may not always pose a significant health risk, they can affect the aesthetic quality of the water and indicate potential issues.

Stagnant water in the distribution system during a shutdown can create an environment conducive to bacterial growth.

Pathogens can proliferate without the continuous flow and chlorination that usually suppress bacterial activity. When the water flow resumes, these bacteria can infiltrate homes and businesses.

Water treatment involves carefully balanced chemical processes to ensure safety and quality.

Shutdowns can disrupt these processes, leading to temporary imbalances. For instance, chlorine levels used to disinfect water might be lower immediately after a shutdown, reducing its effectiveness in killing harmful microorganisms.

After a shutdown, water utilities typically flush the system by allowing water to flow at high velocity through the pipes, helping remove accumulated sediments, debris, and potential contaminants.

“However, if you would prefer to make 100% sure your drinking water is safe after a shutdown, using Milton to help keep your drinking water clean is an inexpensive way to ensure your water is clean.

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“As water outages seem to be increasing, it is essential to remain vigilant about the water quality coming out of your taps and adopt practices that ensure the safety of your drinking water.

“By doing so, we can protect our health and well-being, even in the face of ongoing water supply challenges,” Ragavan said.

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