Why Mingkaman town taps are likely to run dry soon

The management of the Small Water Treatment System (SWATS) in Mingkaman has expressed fears that taps are likely to run dry due to lack of aluminum sulfate.

Aluminium sulfate is a salt with the formula Al₂(SO₄)₃. It is soluble in water and is mainly used as a coagulating agent in the purification of drinking water and wastewater treatment plants, and also in paper manufacturing.

The Mingkaman town SWATS provides 180 cubic meters of water per a day, for domestic and commercial use. The system takes at least 8kg of the salt every day to purify water.

For the past ten years of its establishment, Mingkaman Small Water Treatment System has been receiving support from different agencies such as Oxfam Intermon, MSF, RUWASSA, and lately CEDS.

Simon Nyangeth, supervisor of the team managing the SWATS in Mingkaman town, says they have bought four bags of Aluminum Sulphate from Juba, which he says will take them for a few days if there is no support.

“We have tried to sustain this water system, but we are unable to run it alone now; and that is why we inform the community in Awerial that the water system may close anytime,” Nyangeth stated.

“A bag of aluminum sulphate cost $100 USD. Now it is too expensive for us to afford.”

For his part, the head of county Water Department, says they have no capacity to provide the needed aluminum sulphate to operate the system.

“The only solution is to have a partner that will come to the ground and start the rehabilitation of old water boreholes,” Gabriel Got told Mingkaman FM.

When contacted, the Coordinator for Lakes State WASH Cluster, Ayuen Mawel, said he was aware of the challenges facing the SWATS and promised to coordinate with the national WASH cluster to supply some.