If you woke up to find your tap water spewing out leeches, dead eels, baby frogs and other colourful insects, you would almost certainly be suing whatever company supplies your drinking water. Here in the 2,000-member Liangtian village in Guangdong, the local water company gave up water purification and disinfection a long time ago, and the local government hasn’t bothered to do anything about it.
The quality of the tap water in the village is so bad that the total bacteria count found in the water is tested at 2,200 colony forming unit per litre (CFU/L), 22 times higher than the maximum level of 100 CFU/L allowed in tap water, Nanfang Agriculture Daily reported on March 26. CFU is an estimate of viable bacterial or fungal numbers. In addition, the water also contains higher density of coliform bacteria and higher levels of iron, the report said.
To put the severity of the unhealthy water in perspective, villagers are not even using the water for showers, let alone drinking. Below is a photo of one of the water sources leading to the village:
It’s hard to imagine this is the result of the village’s water improvement project last year, which attracted a total of RMB 700,000 (about $113,000) in investment. When villagers confronted their local government about the heinous water quality, the government brushed it off and said they only supervised the construction and had nothing to do with the water quality.
To make the government’s none-of-my-business attitude clearer, the head from the Water Department in Huangtian Town, which manages Liangtian village, said of all the 17 villages under administration by the town, only six have safe drinking water; the other 11 are all left on their own. He said a bigger village in the town, with a population of 3,000, still gets by without water disinfection, as if to dismiss the case.
Then what should the villagers do? Hold their nose and filter out the insects when drinking? Maybe the policy in town should be: Don’t ask. Don’t Smell. Just drink with your eyes closed!
Home page and content page photo from Nanfang Agriculture Daily