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 http://seasgd.csir.co.za/scientific-assessment-chapters/

Toerien DF and Seaman MT, (2011), Ecology, water and enterprise development in selected rural South African towns. Water SA 37, 47–56.


South Africa’s imperatives for rural development and job creation raise the question whether water abundance in a region results in improved enterprise development in rural towns. The enterprise assemblages of 2 groups of towns, a river group from water-abundant areas and a Great Karoo group from the arid heartland of South Africa, were examined using a variety of different methods based on approaches used frequently in ecology. The comparisons included factors such as the ages of towns, clusters of towns and enterprise diversity. Although some hints were obtained that water abundance favoured enterprise development positively, the null hypothesis that water abundance would not influence enterprise development positively could not be rejected.

Several lessons were learnt: there are regularities in enterprise development whether in water-abundant or water-scarce areas; these regularities are understandable in terms of recent economic thinking as well as old concepts such as ‘threshold populations’; money is the basic driver of enterprise success and more enterprises in one town than another reflects differences in the amount of money entering and/or circulating in towns; ‘entrepreneurial space’ in certain business sectors is used very effectively by ‘run-of-the-mill entrepreneurs’; towns will give rise to different types of businesses and in proportion to the needs of the customers present in the towns; the degree of utilisation of certain business sectors differs statistically significantly between clusters of towns; and approaches and tools used effectively in the study of ecology offer many advantages for the study of enterprise development dynamics in towns, which are ‘enterprise ecosystems’.

The mere presence of abundant water in a region does not automatically translate into enterprise development in towns. Entrepreneurial development should focus on ways and means to increase the flow of money into towns and not merely on its circulation within communities.


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Cloete, T.E and Pootinga, I (2008), Water provision in rural areas and informal settlements and meeting the millennium development goals, in in ASSAF (Academy of Science of South Africa), Local Economic Development in Small Towns, Housing Delivery and Impact on the Environment, Pretoria.


Water is unlike other scarce natural resources. It underpins all aspects of society, from ecology to agriculture to industry – and it has no known substitutes. Like oxygen, water is fundamental to life (UNDP, 2006). Water is also an integral part of the production systems that generate wealth and guarantees well-being.

One of the most notable features of South African water resources is the variable availability of surface and groundwater, due to climate and geography. This is associated with socially-constructed water accessibility challenges, where previous government policies ignored that the majority of the population did not have easy access to water. Many areas in the country are facing water shortages, where the demand exceeds the supply. The authors are of the view that rooftop rainwater harvesting (RWH) can play a major role in sustainable water provision for all and improve the livelihoods of millions of people who do not have easy access to water for drinking, cooking or any other purpose. RWH is thus considered one of the alternative water resources that may enable South Africa to meet the goals set by the government, and to ensure people’s well being. It involves the small-scale collection, capture and storage of rainwater runoff for different productive purposes, including irrigation, drinking and domestic use.

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