Amid drought, SA hospital limits service because of water shortage

By AT editor - 13 January 2017 at 5:47 am
Amid drought, SA hospital limits service because of water shortage

A South African hospital has suspended some services and limited its admissions to critical patients only because of a water shortage, adding to the woes that the country’s drought and usage patterns have created.

A health department spokesman said that at Themba Hospital in Kabokweni, not far from Kruger National Park in the country’s northeast, many services – from surgical procedures to laundry – rely on water that isn’t available.

Part of the problem, News24 reports, is a pipe that failed after recent heavy rains. Yet those rains have not been near enough to replenish a parched South Africa.

The country needs 10 times as much rainfall as the amounts received in the past week to pull the country out of its crisis, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) said during a media tour of the Vaal Dam south of Johannesburg.

The dam itself is now at 50 percent; officials ideally want to see 90 percent ranges, but will be glad to see the 60 percent level achieved given the recent drought history.

In a January 6 statement, the department said that the capacity of the Vaal River System overall – a network of 14 dams – has shown a minimal improvement, but is still at just 54 percent. Some individual dam sites show less recovery, including a slight decrease to 38.7 percent at Lesotho’s Katse dam.

The City of Cape Town, on the other end of the country, is among the hardest-hit locations with just 46 percent capacity, as prices rise and officials plead with residents to honor water restrictions.

Image: Republic of South Africa

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