PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City is working with Ascension Sacred Heart and HCA Florida Gulf Coast Hospital to build deep-water wells at each hospital. 

Last week city officials approved funding for the wells. 

“Having water readily available allows us to continue doing what we’re doing during what is probably some of the hardest times communities can face,” HCA Florida Gulf Coast Hospital COO Holly Dean said.

Dean said the hospital was forced to use tankers to bring drinking water to its facility after Hurricane Michael.

“Anyone who was here during Hurricane Michael, we know the impacts and the devastation that we experienced. Being able to have hospitals that are up and operational is crucial during an emergency and certainly during a disaster such as that.”

Two wells at each hospital will cost around $5 million. 75% of the project will be paid for by FEMA. 25% of the project will be funded by the State of Florida.

“These will be deep water wells with a filter package or a treatment package on them,” Panama City Assistant City Manager Jared Jones said. “That will allow for those to operate in emergency situations.”

Jones said it’s imperative hospitals will be functional immediately after any storm.

“Those hospitals are a critical lifeline, not just for Bay County but for the region,” 

Jones said. “They’re some of the only larger emergency rooms with the capabilities between here and Tallahassee and Pensacola.”

Jones expects the project to be completed in the next year.