Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 23 February 2010
Environmentalist Andrew Muir, founder of the Umzi Wethu training academy and a former The Herald Citizen of the Year, has warned that the increasing number of unregulated boreholes in Nelson Mandela Bay could permanently destroy the vast groundwater supply.
Zolile Keke, Water Affairs Department director of institutional establishments, has confirmed an increase in the number of people applying to use borehole water since the region’s water crisis started.
Provincial Water Affairs and Forestry spokesman, Mandi Zenzile, said the department now “requests” that residents in the city, who are considering drilling boreholes for “reasonable” domestic use, inform both the department and municipality.
“Information is required for the department to determine the impact and effect of the total groundwater abstraction on each specific aquifer.” “If the department observes that the aquifers are stressed and abstraction exceeds the sustainable yield of the aquifer, groundwater users will be requested to reduce their abstraction or to cease abstraction completely.”
The Water Affairs Department has admitted that it is not known how many people are using underground water, or how much.
Muir said it would be impossible to extract fresh water ever again if water in the underground wells combined with saltwater from the sea. “The problem is that our underground water supply is not endless. If the water drops below sea level, then seawater will leak into these underground wells”. “We have to treat our underground water supply as if it is a precious commodity.”
“Our underground water should be regulated and managed, now more than ever, because of the water crisis.
Source: The Weekend Post