Residents of Mbweza and Chazuka Villages in Chief Chimombo in Nsanje say they are not comfortable drawing water from a borehole which is less than 25 meters away from a graveyard.
In an interview on Monday, concerned communities expressed their concern saying the borehole which saves almost 200 households was not sunk at an appropriate place considering that it is just a few meters away from the graveyard.
Vice chairperson of Water Point Committee Benat Moses said people are not happy to use water from the borehole which was built in 1997 by Drill Tech Contractor.
Moses said they feel that the water is not safe for drinking by asserting that decomposed corpses can discharge hazardous substances that can pollute groundwater.
“The borehole is so close to the graveyard. According to my understanding, after the remains are buried, decomposition begins.
“As this happens, fluids can work their way down to the groundwater and this fluid may contain embalming fluid, pathogens/microbes and nitrogen compounds which could contaminate the groundwater,” Moses said.
He added that some people who are consuming the water from the borehole have regularly been attacked by diarrhea, which he feels is a result of water contamination.
“Our lives are at risk. We cannot do without drawing water from this borehole. I appeal to well-wishers to consider relocating the borehole because the water department has failed us after numerous reminders on the same,” Moses said.
Traditional Authority (T/A) Chimombo also faulted the District Water Development Office for failing to move or relocate the borehole to the right place despite several reminders.
“It is now three years since I asked the office to relocate the borehole as the graveyard is now coming closer and closer.
“My request is not being considered for action yet this area has so many water challenges than any other area in the district. The area needs over 60 boreholes,” the chief said.
District Water Development Officer Grant Nyali said his office is aware of the concern and that it is engaging local leaders surrounding areas to permanently shut down the borehole.
He further said the graveyard found the borehole already there but assured people of relocating the borehole once resources are available.
“Relocating it to another site will need more resources. At the meantime, we cannot promise to drill another one as replacement,” Nyali said.
According to the United Kingdom’s Environment Agency under Groundwater Protection Guidance, graveyards both new and old must not have groundwater closer than 2.8 meters below them.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :