Fracking in the Karoo
Our People from the Karoo are very concerned about the possibility of fracking realizing. Not only the risk to our enviroment but also the health risks for our live stock and people.
Shale gas extraction poses a threat to ground and surface water. The fracking process brings a significant risk of contamination of these valuable water resources. This pollution can affect drinking water, as well as rivers and wetlands, threatening our health and the environment.
Not only does fracking pose the risk of contaminating water, but the prosess of fracking itself uses vast amounts of water. Given that many parts of South Africa already experienced water shortages, the prospect of further stressing water supplies could pose serious problems at a local and regional level. Can we really afford to waste vast amounts of water in a water scarce area such as the Karoo?
Another thing that can go wrong of course, is that the Karoo is riddled with uranium, and there is a very big chance that fracking will raise radioactive waste rock to the surface.
If you just do a search on the internet, you will find all the horror stories about fracking. Ordinary people who have experienced this method of gas extraction close to their homes have recorded their experiences.
The water coming out of their taps becomes flammable, contaminated with methane and oil, undrinkable.They suffer strange lesions, cancers, tumours. Their livestock is poisoned, sometimes with radioactive substances brought up from underground as waste material. Arsenic and other substances poison their vegetables and crops.
Each account is a little different, but almost every one mentions the fact that the oil and gas companies who came to drill and fracture the earth assured them that it was safe.
Do we really need to endanger our land and people to explore this?? I say, let's rather focus on truly clean, renewable energy solutions that serves nature and our people.
The facts about fracking.
Hydraulic fracturing, also called "fracking", is part of the process to exploit shale gas reserves which are 'locked' in underground rock formations.
To access these reserves, fluid is pumped down a drilled channel (well) into the gas-bearing rock at very high pressures. This causes the rock to fracture, creating fissures and cracks through which the gas can 'escape'. The fracturing liquid generally consists of mainly water, mixed with sand and chemicals. Numerous different chemical agents are used, many of which are flagged as dangerous to humans and the environment (carcinogens, acute toxins).
The fracturing of a single well requires a huge volume of water: around 9,000 - 29,000 m3 (9 -29 million litres). Chemicals make up about 2% of the fracturing liquid, i.e. about 180,000 – 580,000 litres. Only 15 – 80% of the injected fluid is recovered, meaning that the rest remains underground, where it is a source of contamination to water aquifers.
The lifetime of a shale gas extraction well is limited to 5-8 years, as the productivity declines drastically over the first 5 years.