Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
RESIDENTS in some parts of Mkoba suburb in Gweru have been warned against drinking borehole water after traces of the Escherichia coli (E coli) bacteria were found in some boreholes.
Responding to questions from councillors in the wake of reported cases of typhoid in the country during a full council meeting held at the town house yesterday, Town Clerk Ms Elizabeth Gwatipedza, said while council water is safe, the same cannot be said of borehole water.
She said some boreholes had traces of E coli, a bacteria that can cause diarrhoea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia and other illnesses.
“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.”
She said when there was a typhoid outbreak in the city, there was debate over borehole water in Mkoba 18 and 20.
“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.
However nutritional gardens collapsed and in the height of water shortages, residents started using the water from nutritional gardens. But this water is not safe to drink and we therefore urge residents not to consume water from such boreholes,” said Ms Gwatipedza.
Councillor Charles Chikozho noted that 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. Residents should continue treating their water and cleaning their environment,” he said.
In August, the local authority declared an outbreak of typhoid in the city and appealed for outside assistance to contain the outbreak a development that saw Government and its partners coming to assist.