Fears of water-borne diseases as taps spew dirty water



MASERU – Since the festive season started Public Eye has been inundated with complaints about the poor quality of drinking water, with some Maseru residents expressing doubt if the water was being properly treated. Some sent pictures of dirty water in glasses this publication alleging the samples were taken from household water taps.

This reporter visited Khubetsoana to try and gauge if these concerns are shared by residents of this populous village. A senior nurse from a Maseru City Council clinic at Khubetsoana confirmed that there have been suspected cases of waterborne diseases whose samples have been taken to the lab for testing.

However, the nurse who refused to be identified said they were unable to divulge more information since they are not authorised to do so by MCC. In an interview with Public Eye, some residents expressed concern about the quality of water. One Sebueng Majara said she does not trust tap water even after she has boiled it. “We have been experiencing this fluctuation in the quality of water for a while now. Every time there is a water shortage the water comes back dirty and murky. Sometimes we are even scared to even bathe with it, let alone cook and drink it.”

This has put a lot of people in distress as most are not accustomed to boiling their drinking water, especially those who already do not believe that boiling alone suffices in ensuring the water is sterile enough for drinking.

Another resident, ‘Maseeng Putsoe, said: “The water right now is not safe at all. It has all kinds of impurities and sometimes it looks dirty. I for one think WASCO should be held to account for this problem because it has been going on for too long now.” Tholoana Sefants’i said: “As a resident of Khubetsoana, I am really concerned with the quality of water served to us. A few weeks ago, we found a worm in a bucket of water that had just been fetched. And really this says although we know it is our duty to boil water in order to kill germs, it is the responsibility of WASCO to give us clean water and reduce the possibility of infections and running stomachs.”

It has been apparent in the past few weeks that some places in Maseru have been experiencing levels of unsanitary water supply. Some say this might be linked to the abundant rains which flush dirt and effluent into water bodies during this time.

The Water and Sewage Company (WASCO) released a press statement, stating that it was made aware of the problem and even outlined the places that had been affected. It stated that those areas are getting their water supply from Sehlabeng sa Thuoathe and they have been working towards solving the problem.

But residents of Khubetsoana said this is not the case, as residents in Khubetsoana ka Motseng have also been experiencing poor-quality water from WASCO. They said the problem has been going on for a while longer and sometimes the water comes out murky, discoloured with visible foreign particles that settle at the bottom of a container.

Lintle Mosala from Maseru City Council (MCC) said they have yet compiled information from their clinics on cases of waterborne diseases identified and treated at their health facilities.  

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