home News US embassy says to boil H20 in Botswana but doesn’t provide details

US embassy says to boil H20 in Botswana but doesn’t provide details

Interesting story here: Mmegi Online :: US embassy refuses to name water bacteria. Apparently the US Embassy in Botswana does regular water testing there (and elsewhere around the world).  And the testing identified some issues with the water recently so they sent out a notice to their employees to boil the water.  But when asked to provide details about the water testing they were not completely open.  This has led to a bit of tension (as suggested in this story as well as in some others such as: U.S. Embassy defends alert on tap water in Botswana and News ‹ The Patriot on Sunday.  Not sure why they won’t provide details.  Similar issues are why many people around the world have started testing their own water, in a crowdsourcing/citizen science kind of way (see for example Water Quality Continued: Testing for Nitrogen | Citizen Scientists).

One thought on “US embassy says to boil H20 in Botswana but doesn’t provide details

  1. It is also interesting to read the comments. If they can truly represent public’s opinion, detailed information is strongly required otherwise people won’t believe what US Embassy said. Not sure if this case involves some psychological thing (e.g. people tend to believe things they want to be true). One comment came up with an interesting argument: the water quality might be well below “strict western standards”, but Botswana people have been drinking the water for a long time and it didn’t cause them “any big harm”. So why bother if the bacteria is not as virulent as Salmonella, in other words, “if it doesn’t kill you and taste OK”? PS: For me, even if I don’t quite believe such story, I will probably go with boiling the water before drinking– just to be safe.
    There seems to be a lot of work to do on how to better communicate/ serve the public with your work & findings (as well as understand how public view the question you are working with).

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