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U.S. Embassy defends alert on tap water in Botswana

The United States Embassy has defended the validity of tests questioning the safety of tap water consumed in Botswana. "The United States(US) Embassy regularly tests water samples taken from official properties and Mission residences. This is a common practice as part of a much broader safety, health and environmental management program in place for U.S. Embassies around the world," said John Warner, Public Affairs Officer at the United States Embassy.

He said, "On February 5 and 6, 2013, we provided an independent, Botswana-based company with water samples from six Mission properties around Gaborone. We have used the same independent testing facility regularly in the past."

According to the test results, received by the Embassy on February 13, it was revealed that there unsafe levels of biological contaminants in five of the six properties. After receiving these results, the United States immediately informed the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) and provided the WUC with the test results. The Embassy also consulted with local and U.S. medical experts, all of whom advised that, based on the test results, the water was unsafe for human consumption, and that water intended for human consumption in Gaborone should be boiled.

"Based on that expert advice, the Embassy issued a Management Notice – an internal communication to all employees of the U.S. Mission in Gaborone – advising that water in Gaborone intended for human consumption should be boiled," said Warner.

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