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CSIR: Water in Karoo not enough to support fracking

The CSIR was commissioned to investigate the feasibility of shale gas development in the Karoo.

FILE: Karoo fracking. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - There is not enough water in the Karoo basin to support fracking operations.

This has been revealed in an environmental assessment by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The report was commissioned in 2012 by the Department of Mineral Resources to investigate the feasibility of shale gas development in the Karoo.

Treasure Karoo Action Group’s Jonathan Deal says water in the region is already constrained especially in the wake of the drought.

“Our water from the Karoo is from under the ground and if one of those aquifers is polluted by a fracking operation or a mistake however well intentioned, there’s no Plan B. You can’t buy a new aquifer or flush it out.”

The CSIR’s assessment indicates fracking does not pose a significant risk to agricultural productivity if the risk to ground water resources is adequately addressed.

But the report warns South Africa does not have the capacity to undertake the analyses necessary for water chemistry monitoring needed for shale gas development.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)