Pearly Beach tap water: reasons for the smell, taste and change in colour

Pearly Beach tap water: reasons for the smell, taste and change in colour

Pearly Beach has two water sources, the Koekemoer Dam and the Pearly Beach Dam.

Raw water from the Koekemoer Dam has a brownish colour while water from the much smaller Pearly Beach Dam is clear.  The Pearly Beach Water Treatment Plant requires a blend from both water sources to be able to treat the brown water from the Koekemoer Dam effectively and still meet the town’s water demand.  The colour of water in the Koekemoer Dam, however, intensified substantially since the very wet winter of 2023, thereby challenging the treatment process.

The Pearly Beach Dam’s water level dropped significantly during December from 75% to 25%, after winter.  The current low Pearly Beach Dam level, combined with the very hot summer days, is the cause of the taste and smell to the drinking water in Pearly Beach as confirmed by complaints received from residents. The treatment process is not equipped to remove taste and smell from the water, but the water is still being treated with the Koekemoer Dam water and disinfected.

At the current rate the Pearly Beach Dam may run dry before the rain season. Although the Koekemoer Dam is still near full capacity, the treatment plant is not able to remove colour from the Koekemoer Dam on its own effectively and still meet the water demand of Pearly Beach. 

The Municipality is aware of the inconvenience caused by taste and smell of the water, and in the short term envisage the following approach:

The Municipality will continue to supply water as is done currently until the Pearly Beach Dam run dry or the smell and taste become excessive (currently relatively low levels of taste and smell are present, but water is available for household use and is suitable for human consumption).

Should the Pearly Beach Dam run empty, or the smell and taste become excessive, only Koekemoer Dam water will be supplied. It should be noted however that the water will be brownish in colour as the treatment plant is not able to remove all the colour, but the water will be disinfected appropriately.

Should it become necessary, the municipality will truck drinking water in from Gansbaai in tanks to be strategically placed in Pearly Beach for use by residents.

The Municipality is in process with the following longer-term initiatives:

  • Upgrading of the Pearly Beach Water Treatment Plant to be able to treat Koekemoer Dam water on its own to SANS 0241 drinking water standards, without blending it with water from the Pearly Beach Dam. This will however take several months to complete.
  • Investigations to increase the bulk water supply to the town with groundwater continue. This is a longer-term project to ensure future water security for the town.

Residents are urged to use water sparingly to ensure continued availability of water.

Water saving tips:

  • Cut down the amount of water flushed down the toilet by placing a 2-litre plastic bottle filled with water in the water tank (cistern) of your toilet.
  • Brush your teeth using water in a glass – DO NOT let the tap run.
  • Make sure you put a full load into your washing machine and dishwasher before starting a wash cycle.
  • When washing dishes by hand, do not leave the water running to rinse dishes. If you have a double basin, fill one with soap water and one with clean water to rinse.
  • Check for leaking taps and/or connections and repair them.
  • Where possible, install water efficient fittings and technologies.
  • The best time to water your garden is at sunrise and/or sunset. Watering between 9am and 5pm (when the sun is brightest) is not allowed in terms of the Water Services Bylaw.
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