Windhoek Water ‘Safe’ – Namwater

IF YOU were worried about the bad odour and muddy taste in drinking water, just relax. NamWater says the smell caused by algae is harmless.

This sentiment was also shared by the Windhoek Goreangab Operating Company (Wingoc), that specialises in sewage water treatment.

According to NamWater senior manager for Water Supply North, Zahua Tjiyahura, the bad smell and an unusual taste that were apparent during the festive season, were caused by algae that bloom in the water, usually during summer.

“You can even eat algae, that’s how harmless they are,” joked Tjiyahura. “Due to the large amount of algae in the water, the City had used much chloride to get rid of the algae, resulting in the unusual taste.”

He said the process of getting rid of algae from the water was prolonged due to the fact that many residents had gone out of town for the holidays and as a result, a lot of water had remained unused and the algae built up.

Wingoc general manager John Esterhuizen said despite the fact that 20% of the city’s water is reclaimed from the sewerage plant, they follow a strict step by step process to ensure that the end product is 100% safe for human consumption.

“We don’t skip any steps or provide water that is not properly treated. Our water is perfectly safe for drinking,” he said, reiterating that algae are harmless.

Despite the majority of Windhoek residents suspecting that the water is compromised, Windhoek municipality spokesperson Lydia Amutenya said the City has its own scientific research team that tests the water. She could however not say how often the water is tested.

A consumer protection trust, however, says the quality of the water remains doubtful without an independent body to test it.

The executive director of Namibia Consumer Trust, Michael Gawaseb, said such an independent body would give a second opinion on the quality of Windhoek’s treated and reclaimed water.

“We have to believe what we are told that there is nothing wrong with the water without a second opinion available,” he said. “No independent laboratory is willing to test the quality and safety of the water and we don’t have sufficient funding to test the water ourselves.”

He blamed both government and the private sector for not investing enough in programmes meant to protect consumers.

Source : The Namibian