Maun: There are fears that the strange colour of drinking water, which has persisted for the last two months, may be indicative of faecal contamination ofthe water in the Thamalakane River.
The suspected contamination may lead to a disease causing bacteria, E. Coli, which is found in faeces.
Some of the effects of E. Coli include severe anemia or kidney failure, which can lead to death. Other strains include urinary tract infections or other infections.
Routine tests performed at Letsholathebe II Memorial Hospital (LMH) have for a second year discovered the presence of E. Coli on its water system. Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) supplies the hospital with water. LMH Public Relations Officer, Phumulani Machao confirmed that the bacteria was discovered during routine tests by the infections control unit on its water system on July 25, 2016. She said all the hospital departments were then notified to stop drinking the water from the hospital taps. Machao said patients admitted in the hospital are supplied with bottled water.
Interestingly, the hospital, which is the only institution which regularly tests its water for safety, has reported the contamination every time water supplies in Maun starts showing the strange colour. Last year the hospital discovered the bacteria at the same time the water started becoming darker in appearance.
Hospital Superintendent Dr. Maxwell Mungisi revealed in an interview that they are not sure where the contamination is coming from. He said Maun gets water from WUC. Mungisi said the
Member of Parliament for Maun West Kgosi Tawana Moremi II recently asked a question in Parliament in connection with the brownish water. Kitso Mokaila said the problem might persist until government has secured funding to undertake the Maun phase II water and sewerage project.
North West District Council chairperson, Reaboka Mbulawa said: “The strange colour occurs when the river which supplies water for Maun starts flooding and later stabilises. The quality in relation to safety is not in any way compromised hence I don’t doubt the public health standards. We have not recorded any illnesses or fatalities”.
Asked why the water at LMH is prone to contamination, Mbulawa said it might be due to a mixture of waste and drinking water pipes due to lack of proactive maintenance of the hospital.
Meanwhile, WUC communications manager Matida Mmipi had not responded to the Monitor questionnaire sent to her a week ago.