Skip to main content


19 FEBRUARY 2019


Earthy tasting water remains safe to drink

The City of Cape Town would like to reassure residents who have detected an earthy flavour to their tap water that it remains safe to drink and compliant with SANS241 standards. The change in taste is due to the presence of geosmin in our raw water supply.

It must be emphasised that geosmin poses no threat to human health. It is a naturally occurring organic compound and is responsible for the earthy taste of beetroot and the scent that occurs in the air when rain falls after a dry spell. The compound is sometimes present in water, particularly during periods of hot weather, and even minute concentrations of a few parts per trillion can be detected by the human palate.

The City of Cape Town advises residents that we are currently experiencing high levels of geosmin in our raw water supply from the Theewaterskloof Dam. This is affecting the taste and smell of the water supplied from the Blackheath Water Treatment Plant to the central and south-eastern parts of Cape Town.

The City is currently dosing powdered activated carbon during the water treatment process to reduce the effect of the geosmin. However, it may take some time for the taste and smell of the water to normalise.


Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town

Media enquiries: Councillor Xanthea Limberg, Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, City of Cape Town