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MIHR urges BCC to ensure safety of borehole water

MATABELELAND Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) has urged Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to ensure that all boreholes in the city are tested at least twice a year according to the Zimbabwe water policy.

Last month, MIHR wrote to BCC seeking information on borehole water quality for the year 2020.

In response to the inquiry, Town Clerk Christopher Dube indicated that the city had around 350 public boreholes which were drilled for community use by donors.

“Boreholes dotted around the City were drilled for communities by donors. The Council policy is that borehole water is not meant for potable use but for secondary use. The City cannot guarantee the quality of borehole water because it is not treated and piped to guard against contamination from the soil and sewer overflows among other aspects,” said Dube.

“In that regard, the Council cannot be held accountable for its quality.”

Dub, however, said the local authority routinely monitors the quality of borehole water as part of its Public Health surveillance responsibility.

“Our mandate as a City is to treat surface water from the dams for potable use. In that regard, we treat the water and pipe it all the way to the consumer taps in order to guard against contamination,” he said.

Meanwhile, MIHR Coordinator, Khumbulani Maphosa said BCC should refrain from claiming that the quality of borehole water was good without evidence.

“In this regard, it is both erroneous and misinformation for the Bulawayo City Council to make an authoritative policy pronouncement that ‘the quality of water in most boreholes was good’ as there is no enough current and valid evidence to warrant and qualify such a statement,” said Maphosa.

MIHR urged the local authority and the relevant authorities to take borehole water testing as a serious human rights issue especially during periods of water shortages.

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