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Health of population is DHB’s priority during water crisis

Tairawhiti DHB’s acting chief executive Lynsey Bartlett says the health of the population is Tairawhiti District Health’s priority during Gisborne’s current water crisis, and plans are already in place to cope with any water restrictions required.

“At present, city water remains perfectly safe to drink. We all appreciate the work that Gisborne District Council’s staff is doing to maintain the supply in the face of this unexpected event.”

Mrs Bartlett also says it’s “business as usual” at Gisborne Hospital, where the hospital’s reservoir on Ormond Road can hold around 1300 cubic meters at any one time, enough to keep the hospital operational for five days.

“Demand varies depending on day of the week. We are certainly asking staff to make sure they reduce water use but this will not affect patient care.

“Aside from the laundry, our biggest water users at the hospital are the Satellite Dialysis Unit, where up to 18 patients come for kidney dialysis each week, the Neonatal Unit which takes care of vulnerable new babies, and the theatre equipment sterilisation plant.

“At present there is enough water for those areas to operate safely, and contingency plans include things like introducing bottled water. As a precaution, we are offering dialysis at the hospital for those on home haemodialysis.”

The DHB’s 700-plus employees have also been asked to conserve water at work and at home.

“Email requests have gone to all staff and posters have been put up all over the place.”

Mrs Bartlett says DHB records showed water consumption in 2009 was 93,506 cubic meters, but this has steadily reduced to 65,019 cubic meters in 2013.

“We plan to send daily email updates to show staff how well they’re doing in terms of water conservation on the hospital site. This is a time when our entire community needs to work together to save water.”


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