It was the mothers, young children and stay-in companions of in-patients at SAT Hospital and Government Medical College Hospital (MCH) who bore the brunt of the water supply crisis in the city.
Drinking water as well as water for washing purposes was carried in buckets and huge cans by people to the upper floors in SAT and MCH, where all the water taps in the old main block of the hospital ran dry.
Though 32 loads of water — including the huge water tankers as well as those with water storage tanks — was supplied in the hospital and distributed to people, with the huge population that MCH is catering to, it was clearly not enough.
At the SAT, what put most mothers to much difficulty was that they had to wait for the water supply to normalise to wash soiled baby clothes properly.
“Normally, during a crisis like this, the Collector or the Revenue Divisional Officer gives MCH the priority and gives us a continuous supply of huge tanker lorries. This time, however, Pongala requirements seemed to have taken precedence and we did not get our usual supply. Clearly, it is high time that a contingency plan of action for all times was devised for major hospitals such as ours as the water supply disruption seems to be more frequent than ever,” a senior doctor at MCH said. “We need to look at alternative sources of water too, including ground water as well as proper rainwater harvesting, though these would not serve even a fraction of our requirement, which is about 15 lakh litres a day,” he added.
At the SAT hospital, the lower floors and ICU did have piped supply from the overhead storage tanks. Water was collected and kept in labour rooms and wards from where people had to carry water in buckets for their own use. The hospital managed to conduct three C-sections, two gynaecological surgeries and 14 paediatric surgeries, including five major surgeries.
Water shortage was acutely felt in the old main block of MCH where there is no separation of drinking and non-drinking water lines. The newly constructed Super Specialty Block (SSB) managed to get by without too many problems as the building has separate drinking water and non-drinking water lines.
The non-drinking water line is fed by a well and hence there was continuous supply available for toilets and for fire fighting purposes. From this source, water was being supplied to people too.
At the SSB, as the drinking water was being conserved, there was water till the half-way mark in the overhead tank even now, officials said. It was renal transplant day for the urology department, which went on as scheduled. There were fewer cases in the surgical gastrointestinal and neurology departments. About 30 dialysis were done on Wednesday, which alone consumed about 6000 litres of water.
At the main block, except one, all scheduled elective surgeries and emergency surgeries were carried out, the MCH Superintendent said.
It will take more time before water supply can be expected to normalise in the hospital wards as the huge underground sumps at MCH and SAT will have to fill up and then water has to be pumped to overhead tanks.