n IMIESA - Environmentally responsible development : stormwater

Volume 33, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0257-1978



South Africa currently has one of the highest rates of urbanisation in the world. Consequently, land parcels are continually in demand for new development. In the eThekwini Municipal area, these land parcels generally take the form of rezoned agricultural land on the periphery of urban areas or relic tracts of agricultural land within urban areas. In the past, coastal forest, grassland, wetland and riverine habitats have been supplanted by agriculture, largely in the form of intensive, monoculture sugar cane plantations. With the promulgation of various forms of national legislation, such as the National Environmental Management Act, and an enhanced sense of environmental responsibility on the part of local authorities and responsible developers, many interesting challenges now await the professional team, both from the statutory and technical perspectives. These challenges are highlighted through a case study of a recent project completed by Goba Consulting Engineers and Project Managers (Goba), under review by independent Environmental Consultancy, Guy Nicolson Consulting.

From the statutory perspective, the paper traces the environmental processes inherent in new developments and highlights the requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations, the National Environmental Management Act and eThekwini Municipal regulations, with particular emphasis on the responsibility that is placed on the developer to integrate a wide range of environmental considerations into the permitting, planning and development process, with a view to minimising any negative impacts and enhancing any positive impacts associated with a particular development.
From the technical perspective, the greatest challenge for the engineer remains that of integrated stormwater management. The paper describes the challenge of stormwater management in the context of pre-existing downstream development and the typically steep topography, erodible soils and high intensity rainfall prevalent in the area.
The paper seeks to familiarise the professional team with the stringent new statutory processes and sensitise the engineer to environmentally responsible engineering.

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