Cape hospitals turn to desalination‚ boreholes in water crisis

02 February 2018 - 08:46 By Tamar Kahn
Image: Tyler Olson/

Private hospitals are not taking any chances regarding Western Cape premier Helen Zille’s promise that water supplies will be maintained to their facilities in the event of Day Zero.

The three biggest hospital groups — Netcare‚ Mediclinic and Life Healthcare — are investing heavily in alternative water supplies from the sea and underground so they can run independently of the municipal grid in an emergency. Many of the measures they are taking in Cape Town are being rolled out in other water-scarce regions‚ such as the Eastern Cape.

The Western Cape is gripped by a such a severe drought that Cape Town’s dam levels have fallen to 25.9% of their capacity. Should the dam levels fall to the critical 13.5% level‚ which the DA-led municipality says could happen by mid-April‚ it will switch off the supply to most of the city’s taps.

At this point‚ dubbed Day Zero‚ residents will be rationed to just 25 litres per person per day‚ which they will have to fetch from designated collection points.

"We are very concerned‚ hence our investments in water conservation and augmentation‚" said Jacques du Plessis‚ MD of Netcare’s hospital division.

Netcare is installing a desalination plant in its flagship Christian Barnard hospital on the foreshore.

- Business Day 

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