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Water Quality in NamibiaNamibia is a large, sparsely populated country on the south-west coast of Africa. It has enjoyed relative stability since gaining independence in 1990 after a struggle with the South African government. Unfortunately, the water quality in Namibia has been an issue for some time, with many avoiding the usage of tap water for drinking purposes and opting for bottled water instead.

In some cities, tap water is contaminated; in others, it may be safe to drink. In cities such as Keetmanshoop and Tsumeb, it is said that all water is considered contaminated and that it is recommended to bring all tap water to a rolling boil if you wish to drink, brush your teeth or make ice cubes with it. Otherwise, it is recommended to buy capped bottled water from reputable sellers.

In cities like Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Windhoek, the water is considered as ‘may be safe to drink’ because the water is chlorinated. This means that locals can drink water from the tap without issue. Despite this, many still choose to avoid the water due to instances of some small strains of local E. coli being present in the water. This bacteria can cause diarrhea to new visitors.

As a result of water contamination, retail chains in Namibia, such as Pick ‘n Pay, Spar and Fruit and Veg, to make significant profits selling bottled water to consumers hesitant to drink the tap water.

However, in some shops, like the Pick n’ Play in Windhoek, tap water is labeled as ‘mineral water’ and sold to the consumers unknowingly. There are very little safety measures in place to protect the consumers from being misled by the retail shops that sell bottled water in Namibia.

While explaining the water quality in Namibia and how tap water is treated in cities, Maximilian Herzog of Omaruru Beverages, a leading bottled water company in the local market, said, “nobody controls water quality at the point of use – the tap at home.” This means that from the treatment point, water can flow kilometers through unclean and old pipelines. Water remains one of the most difficult products to bottle and transport through pipelines due to accidental contamination issues. Furthermore, high chlorine levels and unbalanced mineral contents in tap water lead to unpleasant tastes.

Herzog maintains that it is important that the consumer is clearly informed with appropriate labeling and packaging on what they intend to buy, whether it be mineral water or purified water.

In order for this issue to be addressed, it is imperative for the National Standards Institute (NSI) to create regulations for bottled water sales. This will ensure that consumers are no longer misled or in danger of drinking contaminated tap water. Until then, be aware of the water quality in Namibia.

Drew Fox

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in Mauritius tap waterThe Republic of Mauritius is an Indian Ocean archipelago nation just off the southeastern coast of Africa. The country is home to many ethnic groups, races, languages, religions and cultures. With such diversity, the country is perceived as a melting pot. The water quality in Mauritius is mostly safe, but it is not always up to international standards.

More than half of the water supply in the country is sourced from groundwater, and the rest is derived from reservoirs and lakes. Freshwater emanates from the country’s 92 rivers, 13 natural and man-made lakes and groundwater sources.

Surface water courses through water basins, while five main aquifers provide water for both domestic and irrigation use. About 99.4 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water, with per capita consumption reaching up to 190 liters of water per day.

Because tap water quality in Mauritius is reportedly dependent on the village locale, tourists are advised to avoid tap water altogether in favor of bottled water. However, a closer look at the country’s commitment to water security and safety shows that many steps have been taken and many are underway.

 

Improving Tap Water Quality in Mauritius

 

The Central Water Authority (CWA) of Mauritius is tasked with providing safe drinking water – or potable water – to all Mauritians. Water for irrigation purposes is regulated by the Irrigation Authority, while the Waste Management Authority (WMA) is responsible for managing wastewater.

In order to meet the nation’s water needs for all sectors up to the year 2040, the nation’s Water Resources Unit has worked out a plan to harness additional water resources. Construction of storage dams, diverted run-off from river streams and the development of ground water sources have all been explored in the plan.

Water resources are constantly monitored to check for the presence of contamination. Two laboratories in the country monitor the quality of the treated water supply to ensure compliance with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for potable water, as well as the quality of raw water resources. This has included testing of the physical, chemical and microbiological perimeters of the potable water. In this way, good water quality in Mauritius is ensured.

In an effort to promote more sustainable use of water, water resource infrastructure is being improved. This has included an analysis of canals, storage dams and dikes to minimize water losses and identify any necessary rehabilitations to the existing infrastructure.

Additionally, monitoring is conducted in the coastal zones due to the nation’s reliance on subsistence fisheries. Ground and lagoon water is checked for contamination and standards have been established for wastewater management.

As a melting pot, Mauritius brings many people together. This spirit is reflected in the archipelago nation’s existing legal and institutional framework in maintaining water security and cleanliness for all Mauritians.

High management of water quality in Mauritius ensures that proper water sanitation is maintained. With the implementation of future projects, Mauritius aims to accept present challenges, overcome constraints and supply water for all.

Mohammed Khalid

Photo: Pixabay