Water station shutdown over flood in Bor

By Deng Ghai Deng 

Residents in the Jonglei State capital Bor are worried about lack of clean drinking water after the only station supplying the town with purified water was closed due to flooding. 

Bor water station manager John Jurkuc said that the decision was made to shut down the station because water pumping machines were submerged in floodwaters last Saturday.  He said water levels were still thigh in some parts of the station after a dyke collapsed.

“The flood came and all types of the pump we have are under water and the pumps cannot be operated when they are inside the water, so we can’t do anything,” Jurkuc said.

Jurkuc apologized to more than 40,000 Bor residents who counted on the station’s purified water saying the station would resume pumping water when the state government had repaired the dyke and floodwaters had receded.

“We don’t have our own plan as the management of Bor water station; we very much depend on the government’s plans. One is for the government to close the broken dyke. When they do that, the water will be able to subside and then from there we can see how many damages it has caused to our installations. Definitely, it will cause some on the damages. We will repair the broken pumps and then resume,” Jurkuc added.

Jacob Ajang who resides in Block 6, Bor Town said families were forced to drink unpurified water from River Nile. Ajang said most people could not afford to buy bottled water.

“This was the only source we were relying on to get clean water but now has been closed down. There is no way of getting clean water and the water from River Nile is not good for human consumption. Actually, we need the government to do something because there will be no any other alternative to survive,” Ajang said.

He added that the State government would fix the town’s broken dyke quickly so that floodwaters would recede.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Head Teacher of Black Eagle Academy John Mangok said more than 300 students and teachers at the school walked to other areas to fill up their containers with clean water from boreholes after the Bor water station stopped operating.

“The pupils go there and collect water and come with it to the school. We are worried because the water from the borehole is not treated but we don’t have another alternative to get clean water,” Mangok said.

Bol Deng Bol, an employee with the Bor-based Advocacy Group Intrepid South Sudan saidthat leadership had been a problem in the area for a long time even after the formation of the state government.

“We had problems when they were not appointed, again when they were appointed, we are having the same issue; they are not in the state, they are not in the workstations and they are not doing their work pro-actively as we expected. But we can say we have the government in place. And we urge them to do something to mitigate this flooding,” Bol said.

Public health officials said drinking water straight from the river was dangerous because it could transmit waterborne diseases such as typhoid. They urged residents to use water treatment tablets when fetching water for domestic use from the Nile or boreholes.

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