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Water woes strike Mandalay

(File photo: WikiCommons)

The citizens of Mandalay are becoming increasingly concerned about a polluted water supply.

Municipal authorities have confirmed they have received a number of complaints from households who say they are affected by running water tainted by rust and dirt. Some 70 percent of Mandalay’s one million urban population receive their water from the municipality.

No serious cases of illness have yet been reported.

San Yu Kyaw, a Mandalay-based news reporter, told DVB that tap water has recently become visibly unsanitary, with a brown rusty colour and foul smell.

“When I went for a shower this morning, I saw dirt in the water. I don’t know if came through the pipes or from the water tank, but I definitely will not be boiling it [to drink],” he said.

Mandalay’s water supply programme was implemented 20 years ago with assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Thet Naing Tun, the joint-secretary of the Mandalay municipal committee, said officials are responding to the complaints but their capacity is limited because of the budget.

“We are constantly working to fix the problem in areas we receive complaints from,” he said. “The water system was installed 20 years ago and now many of the pipes are rusted. We have been replacing rusty pipes with new ones, but we are limited in personnel and budget so we cannot cover the entire city.”

He said the most severe complaints came from residents of Chanaye Tharyar and Maha Aungmyay townships.

The municipal joint-secretary added that running water in the city is distributed at just 55 kyat per unit, a price set 20 years ago, and therefore they have been incurring losses in recent years.