Water concern

Michael Dreyer, Plumstead,

I am increasingly concerned about how our groundwater will be recharged given the extent of hard surfaces.

The proposed surcharge based on property valuation fails to address two points:

* Discharge of stormwater from property.

* Recharge of groundwater.

In Austin, Texas, this is dealt with by not allowing rainwater from private or public property to be discharged.

This means that the amount of rain falling on an erf still enters the ground and refreshes the groundwater – as it has always done. Where more convenient, both land owners – private and commercial – have clubbed together and developed land to act as a recharge pond when it rains and as a “bonus” to house community playing fields when dry.

Thus the public and the municipality do not have to bear the cost of extreme stormwater removal and groundwater recharge. Community playing fields are an added bonus.

In Cape Town, stormwater is presently discharged from hard surfaces into the sea. Eventually groundwater is depleted.

I propose that extra income be obtained by a levy on hard areas with reductions for owner-provided detention ponds and recharge facilities. Open ground, being a soft area, is not levied.

A levy on hard areas with rebate for recharge efforts is an appropriate way to go. This proposed levy on rates does nothing to mitigate drought factors or ease the stormwater discharge burden. It also antagonises those who have made every effort to comply.