By David N Lerner

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The expansion of Acity was initiated by the exploration of oil. The economic activities shifted to industrial and transhipment activities, resulting in petro-chemical industry, shipyards and oil storage plants. Energy demand increased and was met firstly by the use of oil and later by a hydro power plant upstream. Both public and industrial water demand increased strongly, and was met by groundwater for its reliability and constant quality. This groundwater was initially obtained from shallow underlying aquifers, but the resource was limited.

By 1782, 39 streets in the town had customers attached to the water supply. Pipes had to be paid for by the consumer, putting them beyond the reach of many people. Water quality was also an issue; one pump (in Sheep Lane) was removed in around 1804 as human sewage from on-site sanitation had “penetrated the rock as to ooze into the well”. The River Leen was the common sewer of the town; this had serious health impacts in low-lying areas of housing during floods. In the 1790s the streets were described as being covered by sludge “of the blackest kind”.

Zaadnoordijk et al. were the groundwater users are well organised. Such a problem is difficult to address where there are many individual small and privately operated domestic, commercial and industrial wells. Controlling subsurface contaminant load A well-balanced plan is necessary for effective control of the subsurface contaminant load. Normally a trade-off has to be made between the different interests, both public and private, within the boundaries set. Within these boundaries, the stakeholders will decide on common goals.

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