Survey reveals borehole water in cities is contaminated

Survey reveals borehole water in cities is contaminated

A National Water Resources Authority (NWRA) survey in the cities of Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe and Mzuzu shows that 75 percent of the boreholes produce contaminated water, mainly by feacal matter.

Worse still, even at institutional level, only 30 percent of those using boreholes have licences from the authority, meaning that there is high likelihood that the remaining 70 percent provide water that is contaminated and could be hazardous to people.

NWRA expresses fear on safety of borehole water

NWRA senior civic education and public relations officer Masozi Kasambara disclosed this on Thursday in Mzuzu during an interaction meeting with urban executive committee (UEC) under the Mzuzu City Council (MCC).

He said: “We are re-emphasising the position of the authority on proliferation of illegal water supply systems.  A decision has been made that by November 24 this year, all people and institutions who use boreholes must declare them with the authority, so that it makes a decision on the way forward.

“Of the boreholes sampled, it has been discovered that in 75 percent of them, water is biologically contaminated and unfit for human consumption.”

According to Kasambara, the situation was even dire for institutions using boreholes, and urged non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that drill boreholes in rural areas to follow the law.

“For any abstraction of water, a permit must be sought from the authority. Not doing so is a violation, and we can impose fines or drag them to court,” he added.

MCC parks, leisure and environment director Yotamu Mtafya admitted illegal drilling of boreholes in the city, but partly attributed the problem to limited providers of water.

Earlier, Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change chairperson Werani Chilenga blamed the problem on the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, NWRA and Ministry of Local Government.

“We created the authority and their duty is to monitor that no one drills a borehole in the city and in any area where water boards are providing water.

“It is illegal and unacceptable. The authority is supposed to implement the law. The Ministry of Water and the authority are not doing their job,” he said.

In February, the Ministry of Water and Sanitation said it had drilled at least 366 boreholes across the country after undertaking a number of projects aimed at providing better sanitation services to communities. 

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