Shale Gas Development in the Central Karoo – Water Resources

Full Title:

Shale Gas Development in the Central Karoo: A Scientific Assessment of the Opportunities and Risks
Chapter 5:

Author: P. Hobbs and E. Day
Contributing Authors: P. Rosewarne, S. Esterhuyse, R. Schulze, J. Day, J. Ewart-Smith, M. Kemp, N. Rivers-Moore, H. Coetzee, D. Hohne, A. Maherry
Publication: The CSIR led a large interdisciplinary team to analyse the potential impacts of shale gas mining on the Karoo.
Date: 2016


Water availability/supply for shale gas development (SGD) in the assessment study area is severely constrained. Surface water availability is generally low, with large areas of non-perennial, episodic and ephemeral streams experiencing very high inter-annual variability (Subsection 5.2.3). The surface water resources in the study area are already stressed (and in many areas over-allocated) to meet the demand of existing users. Groundwater recharge is typically low and sporadic, and where groundwater does not already supply 100% of the demand, the development of groundwater resources to meet shortfalls in surface supplies is increasing, particularly during drought years (Subsection The availability of potable groundwater resources in the study area to meet the additional demand of full SGD (beyond exploration) is seriously constrained. There is potential to develop non- potable (brackish or brack) groundwater resources for this purpose at a limited scale (Subsection This, however, will need to take into account potential impacts associated with the transport and storage of this water, as well as potential impacts due to wellfield development.


This document, as well as the full CSIR report can be accessed at

Click here to download document