It is impossible to run a hospital without water. We need water for 169 in patients and their 2-3 visitors, 400 staff, and 400 OPD patients and their families, and our staff quarters. Water is necessary for drinking, laundry, sterilising and cleaning. Ideally we need 30-40,000 litres per day, but some days we receive no water from the town supply.
There is a chronic water shortage in Tansen and although the hospital already had 1.2 million litres of rainwater harvesting capacity, this was not enough to carry us through the dry season, and with 2 failed monsoons the situation was getting worse.
This last year we ordered around 500 tankers of water, and the water level in our existing tanks was too low on a couple of occasions to pump water to the top tank.
So it was a happy day on June 1st when we had the inauguration of our beautiful new rainwater harvesting tank. The vision for building an additional 1,000,000 litre tank under our tennis court started with Engineer Jeena John. She involved Ed Kramer, a Dutch water engineer, who helped us with the research, design, and fund raising. It was great that they could both be present for the program, with Ed Kramer as the chief guest, and Adriaan Los as a special guest who had visited regularly from Kathmandu to give supervision. The workshop rigged up a pump so we could pump some of the water from the tank onto the roof (to be returned to the tank of course) as a visual display for the opening.
Through the generosity of many donors work started on February 20th 2015 and was completed February 17th 2016. It was not an easy project because the work was delayed by two major earthquakes, followed by bad roads during the monsoon, followed by the six month border blockade with India. Because this is a very big tank it had to be completely water proof and earthquake resistant, and so the strongest materials were used. Congratulations to the building team for this engineering feat. This was an international team of Nepali, Dutch, Canadian, American and Australian Engineers. We believe this is the largest tank of its kind in Nepal.
The monsoon is now well underway and our tanks are now 90% full, so we can be confident if we turn on a tap there will be water.