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Charging for Stormwater: Is this the future in South Africa

9 May 2012 - 18:26

The social, economic and environmental impacts of poor water quality in South Africa’s urban aquatic systems are increasingly being highlighted by the media (see 2 examples 1 2 ). Improving urban surface water quality in South Africa will require catchment-wide strategies including the monitoring and management of point and non-point source pollution in stormwater. Significant costs may be incurred; however international experience suggests that these are outweighed by the benefits.

 

Municipalities across South Africa charge their citizens for potable water and sewerage, stormwater management however is generally funded through municipal rates. This means stormwater must compete with other pressing needs for funding. The result is stormwater departments are being significantly under-funded – at times only receiving a tenth of what is required for water quantity management.

 

Internationally, an increasing number of cities have introduced a direct charge for stormwater management in order to secure the funding required to manage stormwater and the associated water pollution, and to serve as a disincentive to polluting practices on the part of landowners. Based on international experience a paper was submitted and accepted at the WISA 2012 Conference (Click here to download the presentation). The paper simply puts forward why and how we should go about implementing stormwater fees in South Africa. What do you think:

  • Could stormwater fees be a reality in South Africa?
  • Would you be willing to pay a stormwater charge?
  • How best do you think stormwater fees should be levied?
  • Do municipal stormwater departments need more funding?