Chennai: While the entire city is grappling with water scarcity, the two prominent, tertiary government hospitals seem to manage well.
However, there are some lapses. At Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH), the management gets enough supply; nevertheless, patients prefer to buy water from outside. In contrast, Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital (KMCH) has effectively planned to beat the short supply.
Despite having drinking water facility in several spots, RGGGH patients walking out with empty water bottles is an everyday sight. Patients also complained of water not being available round-the-clock.
“We do not like to drink the water that is stored in the tanks within the premises. I either buy from the Amma drinking water outlet in the hospital or from outside,” said a patient.
Another person, who has been an in-patient for around three months, says that he uses the potable water for non-drinking purposes. “I do not know when they cleaned the tank. Most of us use it for washing our hands/face. It does not taste good. Even the stored water gets over soon and is unavailable all the time,” he added.
Just outside the hospital, a man selling water is the go-to person for patients to buy drinking water. With around 15 cans on a tricycle, he silently runs his business, breaching norms.
“I have been here for the past decade and most of them who come to the hospital buy water from me. I charge Rs 3 per litre. I unload cans at least 10 times a day,” he stated as he distributes water to his customer on a three-litre bottle. Asked about the water source, he said, “Only the owner knows. I just get the cans.”
When taken the issue was brought to the notice of RGGGH Dean, Dr Jayanthi, stated that the water needs are being managed effectively. “The hospital requires 16 lakh litre per day which is being met. It has become common for people to buy water from outside rather than utilising the facility provided by the government,” she added.
Dr Jayanthi said the 13 borewells on the premises supply 10 lakh litre, around four litre is sourced from Metrowater pipelines and the rest, from Metrowater tankers.
Asked about the unavailability of water throughout the day, she stated that it would be the window period provided to run the motors or wait for the tanker.
While this has been the case in one of the oldest hospitals in the city, it is stark contrary at KMCH.
“Drinking water is good here and is available round-the-clock. The supply is halted only when the motors are being run, otherwise we do not have any problem in consuming the water here,” said a patient.
They state that the hospital Dean has effectively handled the situation, without causing inconvenience to patients when the city has been witnessing acute water shortage.
“The institution has 20 borewells, of which five are down, but we manage. We get water from 20 tankers for day-to-day usage. We will have a problem only if Metrowater stops these 20 tankers,” said Dean, Dr Vasanthamani.
To conserve water when the monsoon hits the city, the hospital has done rainwater harvesting in its old buildings.
|With KMCH having a lot of open spaces without concrete, it aids in recharging the groundwater, which is not the case with RGGGH as the surface has been cemented, preventing percolation of rainwater.|
|In a press release today, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital stated that it is supplying treated drinking water in five points in 5,000-litre capacity tanks for a total of 25,000 litre. Further, water from an RO plant is available throughout the day for patients and attendants, it said.|