Groot Aub's water mostly unfit for human consumption

Elvira Hattingh
Groot Aub's water quality is deteriorating, especially due to agricultural activities, leaking septic tanks and sand mining that pollute the settlement's underground water resources.
According to Lina Mutilifa, a student at the University of Science and Technology (NUST), a study showed that as little as 5% of Groot Aub's water is suitable for human consumption when water quality is compared with the World Health Organisation's (WHO) standards for drinking water.
During the first day of Namibia's water week on Monday, Mutilifa announced the results of the study she and some of her colleagues undertook on Groot Aub's water pollution problem.
"Of the five boreholes that were tested, only one was suitable for human consumption. The borehole at Groot Aub's primary school in particular showed signs of concentrated nitrates,” she explained.
She said according to NamWater's standards for water quality, 50% of the borehole water tested in the study is suitable for human consumption. However, should this water be measured against WHO standards, this percentage drops to 33.3%.
"While the water quality of the Ndadi borehole is excellent, both the one at the primary school as well as at the sand works are unfit for human consumption," she said.
Groot Aub, located 55 km south of Windhoek, is dependent on groundwater. The settlement, which falls within the boundaries of the Windhoek municipality, has almost 9 000 inhabitants and farms with small stock and crops. The settlement has a total of 27 boreholes, of which the municipality uses five.
According to the study, the geographical features of the area cause the water to come into contact with certain elements that pollute it.
Mutilifa suggested the situation could be remedied by upgrading the settlement's water and sewerage infrastructure, improving drinking water treatment and improving education programs on groundwater conservation.