Around 81% of urban South Africans are confident the tap water they drink is safe, the Water Research Commission (WRC) said on Friday.
However, women were significantly less confident than men and had a higher tendency to boil, filter or buy bottled water, according to the findings of a survey commissioned by the WRC.
Young people — between the ages of 16 and 34 — were more positive about the safety of tap water than older people.
Geographically, consumers in eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal had the highest confidence while those in Mangaung in the Free State had the least.
Consumers living in non-metro municipalities in the Northern Cape, the Eastern Cape, Free State and Mpumalanga had the lowest confidence.
Commenting on the survey, WRC chief executive Dhesigen Naidoo said its findings were important as they showed that while people were justifiably concerned about tap water quality, many people still believed it was very good.
It also defined the benchmark that should be aspired to.
“We need to accelerate our efforts until this perception becomes the predominant perception in all our municipalities across the country,” Naidoo said.
The survey covered adults, aged 16 years and over, from all race and income groups, and involved a random sample of 2 437 urban households. — Sapa