Lilongwe Water Board blames algae for water odour

The Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) says algae which has grown in its raw water reservoirs is causing odour in the water the board supplies to residents.

The board said this in a statement on Friday following complaints over the taste of its water.

According to the board, it instituted investigations which have revealed that the earthy, muddy and musty tasty water is due to algae blooms in its raw water reservoirs.

LWB added that the accumulation of algae blooms is a result of agricultural activities along the Lilongwe River catchment as fertilizer residues (phosphorous and nitrates) find their way into water bodies, thereby providing nutrients for algae growth.

“When the algae decompose, they release harmless substances (Geosmin and MIB) which impart different smells in water, for instance the smell that is currently being experienced by some of our customers.

“LWB would like to assure the affected customers that although Geosmin and MIB are naturally occurring compounds that produce earthy musty taste and odour in drinking water, they are not harmful to human health,” the board said.

The board then apologized to its customers and said it is working tirelessly to ensure the problem is rectified, and that customers are supplied with water of acceptable quality and standards.

A few years ago, the board came under fire after water supplied to Area 18 residents was contaminated with sewage due to broken pipes.