Geological perspective

Steffen Kalbskopf, Helderberg Estate

With regards to the proposed new development at Helderberg Estate, apart from the objections mounted by Friends of Helderberg Estate, as a geological professional, I would like to add the following points that have a significant bearing on the development:

Further development and covering of the soil by roads and buildings prevents ingress of rainwater to re-charge the water table which will affect neighbouring residents who use boreholes.

This loss of recharge means one cannot ensure adequate soil water for trees and vegetation in the catchment area, down slope and to the west.

Given the seasons of poor rainfall, the “Little Stream” in the park adjacent to Companje Road is currently drying up.

This situation will be exacerbated if residents in the new development drill their own boreholes.

If the municipality need to drill emergency water boreholes around Somerset West if the drought continues, it will restrict their options.

Given the prolonged period of below average rainfall in the region, it makes little sense to encourage greater consumption in the basin, especially as the sewage plant does not retreat water to a potable standard as in water starved places like Windhoek, Namibia.

In very high rainfall events, there will be increased run-off.

Since there are no facilities to capture this excess and re-charge the local water table, the excess drainage water is wasted.

One other issue relates to the potential for fires threatening properties on the margin of the proposed extension – recent events are a sober reminder of the danger.

The potential for irrevocable damage to the local ecosystem must be carefully considered.