Hospital water shortage a concern

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Johannesburg - Water shortages in hospitals and schools should be rectified, the water affairs department said on Tuesday.

“Scarcity of water continues to worry us and we are even more concerned when hospitals and schools are affected,” spokesman Themba Khumalo said.

“We will work with local municipalities as well as the health department where health care is affected. Sometimes you find it is a skills shortage.”

Nkhensani Hospital in Giyani, Limpopo, was reportedly hit by a water crisis in the town after Nsami Dam began drying up.

The hospital had been relying on the municipality to deliver water in tanks.

A nurse, who asked not to be named, said the hospital had not had water for three months, the Sowetan reported on Monday.

Khumalo said the department was working with the local municipality to find ways to get water to the hospital and the town.

“Often it is easy to find solutions, but there is a lack of skills at a local level,” he said.

“Water is scarce in South Africa. The supply of water is stressed and there is a huge demand.”

He said the department would send the necessary technicians to the area.

The department discussed the draft National Water Resource Strategy (NWRS) in Boksburg on Tuesday. The NWRS would help determine how water would be used and distributed.

Planning and information manager Fred van Zyl said though water was scarce, South Africa did not have a water crisis.

There were still options that could be explored.

He said the department required more effort, money, and better management and skills.

“This is not just a resource issue but also a management issue,” Van Zyl said.

He said the department's draft NWRS would be available next month. It would be finalised next year as the country's water plan for the next five years.

Van Zyl said a re-think about the NWRS was important, or there would not be enough water for everyone.

“If we don't do it now, we are not going to do it in time.”

He said economic issues would play a role and it was vital to invest in water.

“Water is scarce in the country; we need more money to deal with the difficulties,” he added. - Sapa


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