3 December 2018

Zimbabwe: Avoid Borehole Water - Town Clerk

Residents in some parts of Mkoba suburb in Gweru have been warned against consuming water from boreholes following traces of Escherichia coli (E coli) in water from some of the boreholes.

Responding to questions from councillors with regard to the safety of Gweru potable water in the wake of the typhoid outbreak which left over 2 000 residents requiring medical assistance and eight fatalities, during a full council meeting held at the Town House, Town Clerk Ms Elizabeth Gwatipedza said while council water was safe, the same could not be said of borehole water.

She said some boreholes sunk for nutritional gardens had traces of E coli.

"E coli traces have been found in some water from some boreholes and we will continue monitoring and testing the water for the health of our residents," said Ms Gwatipedza.

"Residents in Mkoba 15, 17, 18 and 20 are urged not to consume borehole water. Tap water is safe yes, but there are challenges when it comes to borehole water. While we appreciate that no borehole was decommissioned at the height of the typhoid outbreak, that is by no means a sign or certificate that the water is safe for human consumption."

Ms Gwatipedza said during the typhoid outbreak, there was debate with regard to decommissioning some boreholes in Mkoba 18 and 20 but the recommendation died a stillbirth since there was no alternative source of water for the residents.

"You must remember that some boreholes were sunk in areas where there are nutritional gardens in 2012 and the water from such boreholes did not meet the criteria in terms of consumption by residents," she said.

"However, nutritional gardens collapsed and at the height of water shortages, residents started using the water from the nutritional gardens. But this water is not safe to drink and we therefore urge residents not to consume water from such boreholes."

Councillor Charles Chikozho said there haven't been any reports of admission of patients with typhoid symptoms of late in council clinics.

"The water from the tap is safe to drink and we haven't received any reports of typhoid cases of late," she said. "Residents should continue treating their water and cleaning their environment."

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