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A Cape Town hospital has become the first private healthcare facility in the Western Cape to install a water filtration plant in compliance with the City of Cape Town’s regulations.

Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital, part of the Life Healthcare group, has commissioned an onsite water filtration plant, which meets the City of Cape Town and Department of Water and Sanitation's strict water crisis regulations.

The project forms part of the hospital group’s measures to reduce the facility’s demand on municipal water supply and to eliminate any impact on patients, doctors and employees should Day Zero materialise.

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Life Healthcare engaged with officials from the City of Cape Town and the Department of Water and Sanitation to obtain permission to become self-sufficient in terms of its water supply.

The water filtration plant, which is fully compliant with the city’s regulations and by-laws, treats contaminated water from a local aquifer to ensure it is fit for human consumption in a healthcare environment.

“We had the water tested and found it had quite dangerous levels of iron, so we looked at the best way to treat it and the filtration plant came out as the best way to do it,” explained Dr Japie Du Toit, Regional Hospital Manager, Life Healthcare Western Cape.

The expected yield after filtration is about 80% from the extracted water; and an anticipated 200,000 litres a day being produced. “It's significantly more than we are currently using, because since we started this process we put in a number of processes to reduce our water consumption,” noted Dr Du Toit.

Lourens Bekker, CEO of Life Healthcare Southern Africa, said: “The municipal water supply has been switched off, and the hospital is now operating off the grid. We have an emergency storage supply at the hospital, which is sufficient for at least 48-hours, should there be any technical glitches with the filtration plant.”

Water filtration project authorised to meet emergency demand

In the event of emergencies and to mitigate the risk of water resources further plummeting during the current water shortage, the group in partnership with provincial and local government authorities, will be allowed to implement special contingency measures to supply water.

The authorities have also granted approval to the Group to sink a borehole at Life Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont, Cape Town with testing currently taking place before City officials can give the green light for human consumption. Read more: “What is happening in Cape Town could happen anywhere,” says water expert.

“We hope to soon open the water filtration plant at Life Kingsbury Hospital and remain committed to implementing additional water saving measures, including the installation of reduced flow valves on taps and showers, recycling of water for instrument sterilisation and the reuse of grey water,” stated Bekker.

African Utility Week