Since October 2015, we have already seen water shortages across the country as the drought intensifies. This is not helped by South Africa’s failing water infrastructure. Is it just me or shouldn’t this country put the water infrastructure high up in its list of priorities? We all know we are a country with insufficient water resources to cope with the demand. We import water from the Lesotho highlands. We have permanent 10% water restrictions in Cape Town, drought or no drought. We have dammed all the rivers at every possible point. There is no way of capturing or storing significantly more water in South Africa in dams or reservoirs.
The Water Minister Nomvula Mokonyane is trying her best to spin the governments response as exceptional and extraordinary and life-saving, which is absolutely the case in some parts of the country, but this hides the underlying cause : not El Nino and our first serious drought in 14 years, but our failing infrastructure and the governments failure to prepare for the inevitable. Whats happened in Tygerberg Hospital this week is yet another example that makes my point:
By Barbara Maregele for GroundUp posted on AllAfrica
A burst pipe has left patients and staff without water since Wednesday
Ambulance services were turned away this week at Tygerberg hospital as the trauma unit was closed to any new emergency cases after a water main burst. Provincial Emergency Medical Services spokesman Darren Francis told GroundUp that the hospital had an emergency plan in place. Francis said technicians were on-site attending to the problem.
On Friday morning, dozens of portable toilets could be seen being transported onto the premises. Some cleaning staff were also seen transporting trolleys of ten litre plastic containers filled with water to different wards. “We have been experiencing significant water shortages since Wednesday morning,” said Francis. “Emergency services has replenished the hospital’s water storage tanks to ensure that there is water supply in critical areas of the premises.”
He said new emergency patients are being referred to Groote Schuur and Karl Bremer hospitals until further notice. “We will however continue to perform emergency surgeries as required,” he said. “Water will be available via water tanks. Portable toilets and janitors have been hired. We expect that the water situation will be back to normal late on Friday.”