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Water Conservation in hospitals

Water conservation simply refers to reducing the usage of water and recycling waste (used) water. Any beneficial reduction in water loss, water use and water waste can be classified as water conservation. An important component of water conservation involves minimising water losses, prevention of water wastage and increasing efficiency in water use.

Water conservation includes all the policies, strategies and activities undertaken by the hospital to sustainably manage water, to protect the environment and to meet the current and future demands of the hospital. Factors like bed occupancy, size of the hospital, functional departments affect water conservation measures taken by the hospital.

As per “Kayakalp” Scheme the minimum approach that a hospital can adopt for water conservation is as follows:

Ensuring Adequate Quality & Quantity of Water

  1. Hospitals need to ensure that the water supply is adequate as per the requirement of the hospital. For the health facilities having beds less than 100, the water requirement is around 350 litres per bed per day and for hospitals having more than 100 beds the requirement escalates to around 400 litres per bed per day.
  2. Hospitals should calculate the requirements of the facility and should ensure that they have enough provisions for storage of water as per calculated requirement.
  3. Hospitals should take appropriate measures for ensuring the quality of water supplied by the hospital. The basic measures that can be undertaken by the hospital are:
    • Regular cleaning of water tanks and reservoirs.
    • Regular maintenance of RO plants and water dispensing machines.
    • Regular water testing for any growth of micro-organisms.
    • Chlorination of water.
    • The records for water testing and cleaning of tanks and dispensing system should be retained by the hospitals.

Maintenance of Water Supply System

  • Hospitals need to ensure that they undertake regular maintenance of water supply system as per the periodic maintenance plan of the hospital.

Inspection for Water Wastage

  • Hospitals need to periodically check for any leaking taps, pipes, overflowing tanks, dysfunctional cisterns etc. It should be ensured that designated staff is responsible for carrying out these activities in the health facility. Immediate corrective actions need to be undertaken by the health facility for any fault noticed during the inspection for water wastage.

Promotion of Water Conservation

  • Hospitals should ensure that they promote water conservation in the health facility by use of IEC materials and also by periodic sensitisation of the staff for water conservation.

Rain Water Harvesting

  • Rainwater harvesting is the technique of collection and storage of rainwater at the surface or in subsurface aquifers, before it is lost as surface runoff.
  • Ground water augmentation through diversion of rainfall to sub-surface reservoirs by various artificial recharge techniques can be adopted by the hospital
  • Hospitals can also adopt a twin strategy of simple artificial recharge techniques in rural areas like Percolation Tanks, Check Dams, Recharge Shafts, Dug Well Recharge and Sub-surface Dykes and adopting Roof top rainwater harvesting in urban areas.

Roof Top Harvesting

What is Rooftop Rain Water Harvesting?

Rooftop rain water harvesting is the technique through which rain water is captured from the roof catchments and stored in reservoirs. Harvested rain water can be stored in sub-surface ground water reservoirs by adopting artificial recharge techniques to meet household needs through storage in tanks. The main objective of rooftop rain water harvesting is to make water available for future use. Capturing and storing rain water for use is particularly important in dryland, hilly, urban and coastal areas.

Need for Rooftop Rain Water Harvesting

  • To meet the ever increasing demand for water
  • To reduce the runoff which chokes storm drains
  • To avoid flooding of roads
  • To augment ground water storage and control decline of water levels
  • To reduce soil erosion
  • To supplement domestic water requirement during summer, drought etc.

Safety Consideration for Storage in Ground Water Reservoir

  • For rooftop rain water harvesting through existing tube wells and hand pumps, filter or desilting pit should be provided so that the wells are not silted
  • Such tube wells if pumped intermittently increase the efficiency of recharge
  • If the ground water reservoir is recharged through shaft, dug well etc., inverted filter may be provided.

Storage in Tanks

  • A storage tank should not be located close to a source of contamination, such as a septic tank etc.
  • A storage tank should be located on a lower level than the roof to ensure that it fills completely
  • A rainwater system should include installation of an overflow pipe which empties into a non-flooding area. Excess water may also be used for recharging the aquifer through dug well or abandoned hand pump or tube well etc.
  • A speed breaker plate should be provided below inlet pipe in the filter so as not to disturb the filtering material
  • Storage tanks should be accessible for cleaning
  • The inlet into the storage tank should be screened in such a way that it can be cleaned regularly
  • Water may be disinfected regularly before using for drinking purpose by chlorination or boiling etc.

Source: : Guidelines For Implementation Of "KAYAKALP" Initiative



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