Saturday, September 20, 2008

Water Water Every Where

With the "dry spell" the Zululand coast is experiencing the Northern Section has been so dry that the town of St. Lucia Estuary has been with daily dry tap for weeks. This is not helped by the aggressive development and expansion of the little town. Guest Houses seems to be the most favourable choice for developers. This is all and all very scary since the Water Supply is not the only problem the town is facing.

Eskom lines running through very sensitive wetlands and with the town only having one entrance, huge Eskom Pylons following the road leading to this world heritage site is not ideal. Further the problem of power extends to Eskom not being able to supply the countries power grid with sufficient power. St. Lucia Estuary also has major waste disposal problem and the sewerage works was last updated in the early 1990's.

The sewerage pond system where designed with South African tourist target market. The evaporating pond system worked fine under the pressure of a hundred annual school holidays and the 250 days slow period. With World Heritage Status the market change and the tourist season is from August to February. Thus leaving almost no time for the evaporation system to function.

Since the town is build on a very small piece of land between the Estuary and the ocean and considering the sandy soil it will not be easy solving the problem of Water, Sewerage and waste disposal. Water supply is about 30 km away and ideally waste disposal will have to be run to Mtubatuba also 30 km away. Sewerage works will have to be moved there as well and this will lead to a pipe line running through the same sensitive wetlands system as the Eskom power lines. Leakage on such a line is unstoppable.

Development for St. Lucia Estuary is very bleak at the moment and the problems will prevail as long as nature is respected. Ironically the very thing that made this town famous are now threatened by the success the was born from it.

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