DEVELOPMENT – AT WHAT COST?
This water crisis is the fault of the government of the Western Cape; they have allowed development to go forward unhindered without thought to the infrastructure. Now they are trying to do something for the roads.
We are living in a period of climatic upheaval brought about by industrial pollution. What we are experiencing isn’t a drought! It is climate change, a change in the weather patterns. The government uses the term drought to try to hide or mask the problem as being natural and out of their control. In fact, this is a lie.
Years ago, the government of the Western Cape should have called a halt to further residential development, to developing new urban areas. This moratorium should have been in place until such time as the infrastructure had been improved to take in- creased population levels. But this was unpopular. It was far easier to allow development and building to continue, increasing the pressure on an already scarce resource, using millions of litres daily mixing cement because more houses means increased tax revenue.
This tax that the government wishes to impose is unfair; we have cut water consumption as per their request and now we are expected to be taxed for it because they did not do the right thing a decade ago. Furthermore, this tax goes across the board, and does not distinguish between households with one member and households with more than one; thus households with fewer members will be paying substantially more.
If the government of the Western Cape would like to fund projects to ensure water availability, then they should increase the water tariffs in a step- wise fashion so consumers who use more are charged at substantially higher rates. They should use some of the increased revenue obtained from rates on new urban developments to fund new water supplies, and they should go after those that have materially benefited from these new urban developments, the builders and property and real estate developers and have them pay a special infrastructure tax.
And the government should reward those who strive to use less water by lowering their rates and taxes.
DOUGLAS ANDERSON BY EMAIL