South Africa: Water and Sanitation Host Community Engagement On 'Fracking'

press release

Community engagement on "Fracking" continues with Prince Albert and Laingsburg communities

The communities of both Prince Albert and Laingsburg Local Municipalities converged at JJ Ellis Sports Complex in Laingsburg, to make inputs on the Unconventional Gas Regulations developed by the Department of Water and Sanitation. Among the stakeholders present were the commercial and emerging farmers from both local municipalities.

The regulations guiding the drilling, or the hydraulic fracturing of the unconventional gas activities spell out prohibitions and restrictions for the gas companies, to ensure that the water resources are not contaminated. The regulations also stipulate that the chemicals to be used during the operations needs to be disclosed, as required by the National Environmental Management Act of 1998, and the Mineral Petroleum Resources Act of 2002.

The operations of the drilling operations also require the companies to apply for a water use licence as there will be extensive use of water during the fracking operations.

The Department's sole mandate is to protect, manage, control, and develop water resources, thus regulations guiding the activities of fracking were developed. The regulations will regulate these activities because they have a possibility of contaminating the water resources, particularly groundwater.

The Department formulated these regulations through the mandate of the National Water Act of 1998.

The stakeholders made inputs on the regulations, particularly on the adverse impact these fracking activities will have on the quality of water in the Central Karoo District Municipality.

The Department of Water and Sanitation will consider the comments and the inputs made by the stakeholders/communities and will use them to improve the current draft regulations that have been developed. The final regulations on the Unconventional Gas will then be gazetted, and the Minimum Information Requirement will be implemented.

It is also envisaged that the regulations will also serve as a draft guideline for Water Users Licence Application assessors.

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