The Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) has responded quickly to reports alleging that the Gaborone water supply is unsafe to drink and that the public should boil the water before drinking.
This follows a memo issued by the American Embassy to its staff that on Friday it received water results from various Mission residences.
“Such testing is performed routinely by the Embassy to ensure our water supply is safe. These samples indicate levels of biological contaminations and render the water supply non-potable. Based on the wide area tested, we are confident the contamination is not isolated to a single part of the city,” said the Embassy official, Andrew Prater, in a statement.
He added: “We have notified the Water Utilities Corporation and will stay in close contact with them as they investigate and try to remedy the situation. Until further notice, Embassy Gaborone is issuing a Boiled Water Advisory for personnel in the Gaborone area. We recommend that you boil all water intended for consumption.”
He explained that boiling is an effective response because the disease-causing organisms found in Gaborone’s water supply are destroyed by heat.
“Keeping water at a high enough temperature for a sufficient duration will destroy the pathogens.
Various boiling times are suggested but the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommends bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute or for three minutes if you live 6,562 feet or more above sea level,” advised Prater.
He said they will continue to test the local water supply water on a more frequent basis until it is once again safe to drink.
“In the meantime, we are discussing with Washington various long-term solutions for providing safe, drinking water in Gaborone,” he said.
WUC Public Relations Officer, Matida Mmipi, confirmed that the Corporation was aware of the notification from the US Embassy.
In a press statement, WUC said it tests its water supply at different points in the distribution system regularly and in response to these allegations, which reached the Corporation on the 14th of February 2013.
“WUC immediately carried out extra tests on its water supply in Gaborone and the results indicate that the water supply is safe to drink. The Corporation, therefore, reassures the public that its water supply in Gaborone and nationwide is safe to drink, even without prior boiling,” said WUC.
It should be noted, WUC said, that the reports in question quote results of tests done in particular residencies on the 6th of February 2013. The Corporation has received the queries from these residencies and is working to get to the root cause of such water quality indications in the particular residencies.