The water problems that constantly plague the Tshwane metro area are now beginning to spread, including to health facilities that are struggling to cope due to insufficient water supply.
Rina Marx, mayoral committee member for health, says some facilities have had to close their doors temporarily because the water shortages make it impossible to maintain hygiene standards.
The metro’s health department was forced to close the Olievenhoutbosch clinic on Monday due to the ongoing water shortages. The water supply was finally restored and by the next day the clinic was able to resume its operations.
“Similarly, the Lotus Gardens clinic is experiencing a water shortage. This facility remains open for the time being while arrangements are made to fill its backup water tank,” says Marx.
The ongoing water shortages particularly affect hygiene practices at health facilities; a lack of water makes it almost impossible to properly wash hands before and after procedures in terms of the infection control policy.
Toilets cannot be flushed and the administration of single dose medication is not possible as there is no water available for patients.
“Hygiene cannot be compromised at our 24 primary health facilities. That is why it is essential that the water supply is restored to prevent more clinics from having to close their doors,” she says.
Large parts of the city have been without water for the past week, apparently because power outages are hampering Rand Water’s ability to supply water to the metro.
Rand Water has been limiting the supply of water to various reservoirs since the weekend in an attempt to stabilize its own water levels.
The Tshwane metro depends on Rand Water for more than 70% of the water supplied to residents.
Just a few months ago, numerous neighborhoods in the east of Pretoria also sat without water for days and since December several similar cases – where Rand Water’s water supply to Tshwane and other municipalities were interrupted without warning – have been experienced.
Cilliers Brink, mayor of Tshwane, has already said that he is going to consult legal advisers and water experts to determine what Tshwane can do to be more resilient against the problems at Rand Water.
Marx says she is delighted that the metro is taking steps to consult Rand Water about possible solutions to the water problems.
“The department will keep communities informed of the state of affairs and, if necessary, pressure to close any health facilities.”