Use boreholes sparingly

Chris Grinton, Hout Bay

Just a thought on boreholes. While this story in not exactly analogous to Cape Town’s borehole situation, it does make one think twice about the drilling of boreholes.

In the early 1990s, Saudi Arabia, where I worked for three years, was immensely proud
of growing and exporting wheat, from the desert, no less, to surrounding Arab countries, in many ways bragging about their technologies.

They drilled thousands of boreholes, tapping into an aquifer(s), and then they had to subsidise the resultant wheat exports because their pricing was not competitive.

A group of visiting academics, as well as a local leading thinker, castigated the government for this folly; exporting wheat
to other countries, at a loss, while using extremely precious ground water to facilitate the growing of wheat, in the desert!

The plug (pun intended!) was quickly pulled on this hare-brained scheme, but the results can still be seen when overflying Saudi – rows and rows of abandoned fields – a fool’s folly!

So getting back to Cape Town boreholes – while it is no doubt a right for people to sink them and extract the water judiciously, I just hope people will be sensible about the very extraction, and what it is being used for. Water is, after all, a precious resource.