As many Technoparkers have noted – some with no small degree of trepidation – the dams bordering Neutron Road are being filled with excavation material from the new Capitec building site. A number of people have taken to social media to express their alarm over what strikes them as an unnatural development.

We would like to assure the Technopark community, however, that the filling up of the dams has been approved by Stellenbosch Municipality, and also carries the blessing of the Technopark SRA. One of the decisive factors in the granting of this approval is the fact that these dams are not natural wetlands.

Built in 1986 during the initial construction of Technopark, the dams are man-made structures. They have no natural inflows and have never been sustainable based on annual rainfall only. In fact, until recently their levels were maintained with water from an agricultural water pipeline running all the way from Theewaterskloof; a situation which became untenable when the drought reared its head last year.

Due to the prohibitive cost of the agricultural water – to say nothing of an environmental situation in which water is required urgently elsewhere – the Municipality decided to approve a decision to fill up the dams. Another consideration has been the recent proliferation of pesky mosquitoes in Technopark, who saw the stagnant water of the half-empty dams as an ideal breeding place.

The material from the Capitec excavation site presents an opportunity to fill the dams at a lower cost than would otherwise have been the case, and the area will be landscaped afterwards to hold indigenous fynbos that does not require additional water for irrigation.

We understand the disappointment that some may feel at what appears at the moment to be an unsightly conversion of a dam into a building site, but we would like to assure you that these decisions have been taken not only with the economic well-being of Technopark in mind, but also with due consideration to the demands of the current environmental situation. As always, the Technopark management body, TechstelSRA, holds the interests of Technopark business owners and stakeholders first and foremost when it comes to matters of these nature.

For Technopark business owners with additional questions about the filling up of the dams, please get in touch with the Manager: Community Services at Stellenbosch Municipality, Albert van der Merwe. He can be found at (021) 808 8195.

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