Innocent Ruwende — THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority yesterday said it was going on a nationwide testing of borehole water to assess its quality. Tests done in Harare have confirmed the contamination of borehole water in some low density areas in Harare. The tests indicated that the water contained the Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. The bacteria can cause water-borne diseases and other health challenges.
The water is also contaminated with other coliforms (bacteria). E. coli is a bacterium that is normally related with faecal matter. Zinwa public relations manager, Mrs Marjory Munyonga said the programme aims to update the status of the groundwater quality in Harare and all the other parts of the country.
“The initial part of the programme, which starts on February 10, 2017 and runs up to February 25, 2017 will focus on Harare and move to all the other parts of the country as the year progresses. We are, therefore, inviting borehole owners who are interested to be part of this rapid assessment to contact us,” she said.
Mrs Munyonga said Zinwa’s scientists would be visiting premises to inspect the borehole environment and carry out physical water testing and collect microbiological samples for laboratory testing. She said sampling of this nature was very sensitive and could only be done by qualified personnel.
Last week The Herald took water samples from four northern suburbs of Harare for laboratory tests and results from two boreholes in Borrowdale and Glen Lorne showed that the water was not safe for drinking.
Random samples were also taken from Greystone Park and Gunhill. Zimlabs, which carried out the tests, looked at chemical and micro-biology composition of the water to check if it was safe for human consumption. Harare City Council has also condemned half of Mbare-Sunningdale boreholes in Harare as unsafe for consumption.
Briefing Minister of Health and Child Care Dr David Parirenyatwa and Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Saviour Kasukuwere during a tour of Mbare recently, to assess the extent of the typhoid outbreak, Harare City Council health director Dr Prosper Chonzi said residents were consuming borehole water because of erratic supply of potable water.
“Thirteen out of 32 boreholes in the Mbare-Sunningdale area are contaminated but residents consume this water because of the erratic water supplies leading to the spread of the typhoid bacteria,” Dr Chonzi said.