More boreholes will be added to Groote Schuur Hospital’s eight existing groundwater sources in the event that water restrictions become more constrained beyond Day Zero.
The City has said that in the event of Day Zero, municipal water supply will not be cut to hospitals and schools but Mark van der Heever, the spokesperson for the provincial Department of Health, said the new planned boreholes for Groote Schuur, a public, critical care hospital in Observatory, were part of their Water Preparedness Plan.
“We need to be prepared for any eventuality. We need to be prepared in the event of a total loss of municipal water and also to reduce the demand on municipal water,” he said.
Jandre Bakker, the head of communication for the provincial Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW), said it was critical that tertiary public hospitals had an independent water source.
“Currently, Phase 2 is referred to as Day Zero. We must, however, remember that albeit very restricted, there will still be water to use. We are preparing for the eventuality of Phase 3. That is the phase when water physically runs out. These healthcare facilities are critical, they are life sustaining and we need to ensure that they have independent water supply. By having these sites on independent water supply we will be saving municipal supply and by saving municipal supply we will be contributing to avoiding Phase 2. The reality is the more everyone can save and ease pressure on municipal supply, the better our chances of avoiding Day Zero,” he said.
The South African National Parks (SANParks) is assisting the DTPW with groundwater operations for Groote Schuur.
Boreholes drilled at Groote Schuur have only yielded 7 litres/second (* /s), which is 2.8l/s less than what the hospital needs.
Byron la Hoe, the spokesman of DTPW, said: “Even though eight boreholes were drilled at Groote Schuur, these did not yield enough water to secure the site’s operational, hygiene, drinking and fire-fighting needs.”
DTPW’s next step was to cooperate with SANParks and instructed the appointed geohydrologist to identify possible drilling sites in the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) area adjacent to Hospital Bend. An environmental control officer was also appointed to oversee the drilling operations.
“After ensuring compliance with the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, SANParks gave its approval for drilling to begin,” Mr Bakker said. “Three promising sites were identified, and the national Department of Water and Sanitation has been informed about the project.”
As much as possible, water extracted during the pump testing phase will be stored for SANParks fire-fighting purposes, he said.
Groote Schuur Hospital, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Tygerberg Hospital are the most critical health facilities in the province’s Water Business Continuity Plan (BCP).
BCP project leader Advocate Gavin Kode of DTPW said: “Of 68 initially identified critical WCG (Western Cape Government) service delivery sites in the province’s Water BCP, sufficient ground water resources have so far been secured at 37 of these prioritised sites. So far 86 boreholes have been drilled; 64 of which have been pump-tested.
“Complete engineering designs for treating groundwater to potable standards and reticulating it are being implemented at these sites. Where it is not economically viable to treat groundwater to potable standards, such water will be reticulated only for hygiene and fire safety purposes,” he added.
According to Mr Bakker, regular water consumption audits will continue in provincial government-owned buildings to manage and reduce operational demand for water, and to produce and implement water management plans where necessary.