Lentegeur hospital to rely on borehole water

Workers digging trenches for pipes to link borehole water.

Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital, whose sprawling grounds house the psychiatric hospital, the Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital and the Lentegeur School for Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN), among others, is working towards using borehole water and securing its water supply to be less dependent on the City of Cape Town.

Health MEC, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo whose department refers to the hospital grounds as an “estate”, inspected water security there on Wednesday February 14, in accordance with the department’s Water Preparedness Plan in light of the drought.

Ten boreholes on the premises will feed the encompassing district hospital, the psychiatric hospital, emergency medical services (EMS), Lentegeur School for LSEN, the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre and Lentegeur (regional) laundry, which services 37 healthcare centres and hospitals in the Western Cape.

The City has agreed to retain water supply to hospitals, clinics and schools in the event of Day Zero – now moved back to Monday July 9.

The health department, in co-operation with the Department of Transport and Public Works, has already commenced with drilling boreholes at several hospitals as a precautionary measure.

A number of priority sites have been identified, based on the importance of the site in the health system – how many people it serves – as well as the local availability of municipal water.

The Lentegeur premises’ borehole is one of the 56 existing boreholes that are in the progress of being equipped.
The department is also installing an 800 metre pipe, with a diameter of 160mm to its main water supply line to deal with the problem of low water pressure from the City.

Dr Mbombo also inspected the installation work on the booster pump and the 700 kilolitre reservoir that will be recommissioned. The reservoir has been on the estate for about 40 years.

“I have confidence that this facility will definitely have water not only for the premises but for the nearby facilities as well,” she said.

She stressed that water at health facilities would only be used in rendering health services, to staff and patients.

“Hospitals and clinics will not be water collection points should we potentially reach Day Zero,” she said.

Dr Mbombo said: “As government, we are doing everything in our power, with the City of Cape Town, to ensure that we can render uninterrupted health services.”

The department is also running campaigns at facilities, encouraging patients, staff and visitors to save water. “Day Zero can be avoided by saving as much municipal water as possible.

“We urge all residents, and health service users to work with us to avoid Day Zero” said Dr Mbombo.

The Plainsman enquired about water usage at the premises and got the following numbers:

The biggest water user in hospitals are flushing toilets.

The psychiatric hospital uses 500 kilolitres per day. This is mainly for patient ablutions, laundry, cleaning, flushing toilets and cooking.

Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital uses 140 kilolitres of water.

The combine water supply for all 10 boreholes on the 107ha estate is at 1 080 kilolitres.

Lentegeur laundry serves 37 health centres and hospitals who sent a total of 724 304 pieces, including sheets and hospital gowns for the month of January.

The biggest users include Mowbray Maternity Hospital with 104 914 pieces (14.48%), Paarl Hospital with 91 710 pieces (12.66%) Khayelitsha Hospital with 88 316 pieces (12.19%), Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital with 81 643 pieces (11.27%), and Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital with 74 414 pieces (10.27%).

The laundry uses about 80 kilolitres of water per day, five days a week.

The lawns and landscaping have not been watered due to Level 6B water restrictions.