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Fracking in Kgalagadi?

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Fracking in Kgalagadi?

Unread postby mistral » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:53 am

Along with the Botswana side of Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, prospecting licences have also been issued for Chobe National Park and Central Kalahari Game Reserve. TV program Carte Blanche last year confirmed that some fracking has already begun in Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

Although no extraction licences have been issued yet for the Kgalagadi area, prospecting rights have been granted, and there’s a possibility of fracking operations beginning on the Botswana side of the park.

South African National Parks Manager for Kgalagadi Steven Smith explained that potentially the whole of the Botswana side of the park is open to fracking operations. “We had no idea that the Botswana government was planning to do this. They should have consulted us first, because this is a transfrontier park.”

Currently, the matter has been transferred to South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs, and is waiting for their attention.

A recently released documentary entitled The High Cost of Cheap Gas reveals that Botswana’s government issued the licences without consulting stakeholders like the parks authorities, communities or farmers. Energy company SASOL have been linked to one of the prospecting licences.

The process of hydraulic fracturing is not only unsightly, with pipelines, drill towers and access roads scarring the land, it can also pollute ground water sources. In a place like the semi-arid Kgalagadi, where the average 150mm annual rainfall is highly variable and droughts are common, it could prove destructive to the natural environment.

There are no natural permanent sources of surface water in the park, and all the water for animals is supplied by numerous boreholes. The two rivers – the Auob and Nossob – flow briefly only every few decades after very heavy rain.
Here, water is everything. Indeed, the word “Kgalagadi” means “always dry” in Setswana. During my trip to Kgalagadi, several thunderstorms unleashed sporadic rain showers. The drenching water sometimes formed pools in the dry river beds and pans.

But within a day, the water had disappeared into the immense sandy area, soaking down into the ground water far below. The blazing sun soon turned the desert into an oven again, temperatures soaring to above 40 degrees Celsius.

According to Dr Gus Mills, who spent 40 years in the Kgalagadi studying carnivores, the animals are highly dependent on water and grazing for their survival, and need to move vast distances to follow the rains. Camel thorn trees have tap roots 70 metres deep that plunge down to the aquifers below.

“The Kgalagadi is a remnant of an even bigger natural system that once occurred in the southern parts of Africa,” explained Dr. Mills. “The area is big, but it’s not completely uninfluenced by people. It’s arid, it’s fragile and is sensitive to disturbance.”

There are worrying signs that the natural processes are being choked by development in surrounding areas. Springbok numbers have crashed, and are battling to recover. The trans-Kalahari highway and cattle fences could have stopped their migrations. Lions sometimes roam into surrounding areas, preying on cattle, only to be shot by farmers.

Now, with the prospect of fracking within Kgalagadi, the very sanctum of wilderness is under attack by man. Surely the question must be asked: why, when most of Southern Africa is already developed and exploited, are governments intent on destroying the last of the wilderness areas?

Full story: ... g-20140213

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Re: Fracking in Kgalagadi?

Unread postby Div » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:45 am

This is not good news. I am sure we are all very concerned.

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Re: Fracking in Kgalagadi?

Unread postby SHAKYJAKES » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:28 pm

:( indeed very sad. There was an article in the "Volksblad" about a month ago. What does the Bilateral agreement says? Is this in line with the Transfrontierpark's managementplan? is Game reserves and biodiversity, only the property of the individual country? or is it the property of the world?

One of the last true wilderness places and earth, and now this. :(


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Re: Fracking in Kgalagadi?

Unread postby anne-marie » Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:35 pm

it's a catastrophe :rtm: :naughty: :twisted:
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planing KTP janv/fev.2016

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Re: Fracking in Kgalagadi?

Unread postby Carol g » Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:40 pm

Very sad news indeed :wall: :wall:
Those who have no love in there hearts for animals, have no love in there hearts at all

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