06 Nov 2014 14:40pm
SINGURUVE, 06 NOV (NAMPA) A high concentration of nitrates in a borehole caused the deaths of 60 heads of cattle at the Singuruve village in the Kavango West Regions Ncuncuni Constituency last week.
Villagers were left baffled when their cattle started dying last Thursday after drinking from the borehole at this village, situated on the southern outskirts of Rundu.
It is feared that the deaths of so many heads of cattle will be detrimental in a community which depends on livestock for subsistence farming.
Community members told Nampa that it all started last Thursday when a herd of cattle started collapsing, and died one by one after they drank that water.
Cattle which drank from the same borehole on Friday were also later discovered dead, with their remains lying scattered in the floodplain and nearby bushes.
The community members sent for veterinary officials, who gathered samples of the water and conducted tests.
Rundu State veterinarian Dr Thomson Shuro on Wednesday disclosed the results of the tests to the villagers, saying the level of nitrate in the water was 500 milligrams per litre.
This means it was more than 500 times the normal level of the concentration of nitrate in water, and that was the reason why the cattle died, he said.
Shuro explained that the chemical is found in fertilisers, pesticides or mineral licks given to animals. The veterinarian, however, said they still need to investigate what the source of the chemical in the water could be.
Samples will also be taken from surrounding boreholes for testing to determine if this water is fit for both human and animal consumption.
Meanwhile, Ncuncuni Constituency Councillor Rosa Kavara expressed dismay at the incident, saying the loss of so much livestock will negatively impact a lot of households.
It is really sad and a big loss because most of them will not be able to plough. Some people lost all their cattle, she stated.
Kavara pointed out that although her office cannot promise any assistance to the affected villagers, it will notify the office of Kavango West Governor Sirkka Ausiku about the incident for possible assistance.
She also appealed to Good Samaritans to assist those most affected, especially with the ploughing of their mahangu fields so that they will be able to produce food.