Tag Archives: Water

Fracking to require water use licence

Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa on Tuesday announced that companies wanting to use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to explore for shale gas in the Karoo would require a water use licence.

The Minister gazetted for public comment a notice of intent to declare fracking a controlled activity in terms of the National Water Act (NWA) for public comment. The notice included the exploration for, and production of, onshore unconventional oil or gas resources and any activities incidental thereto, including, but not limited to, fracking.

“What this means is that fracking becomes a water use, thus requiring a water use licence. In this regard only matters regarding water resources will be of consideration when licences are issued, including, but not limited to, the possible impact of substances and chemicals on the ground water resource,” Molewa said at a media briefing in Pretoria. Read on Engineering News >

Little water for a thirsty Medupi

Nick Gleason | 24 July 2013 | BDLive Opinion

I KEEP hearing rumours about Medupi, the coal-fired power station that is turning out to be the most expensive ever built anywhere. The station’s foundations are being built 50% below requirement. No, they’re not. Oh, well, the boiler foundation structure is prejudiced. When I ran a check, the answer was no, it’s not.

Which is right? Given the consistently bad news we’ve been getting about Medupi, it’s easy to shrug and assume the worst — like the latest assessment I’ve heard, that the total cost of the project, interest included, is heading towards R200bn.

What is indisputable, however, is the need to worry about the supply of water to Lephalale, where Medupi is situated. The power station, which will employ a dry-cooling method that doesn’t use evaporation to cool the water, will nevertheless require 6-billion litres of water a year without a flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) plant, and 14-billion litres a year with such a plant. Read more.

Tracing the Culprit if Fracking Pollutes Water Supplies

State Impact Texas | 22 January 2013.

Scientists are developing ways to add non-toxic tracers to drilling fluid so if groundwater is contaminated, investigators would be able to pinpoint if an oil or gas drilling operation was to blame.

“What’s impossible at the moment is if you’ve got multiple companies in an area and it’s thought there is contamination, there is no way to tell which company caused the contamination,” said Andrew Barron at Rice University in Houston…

(Contributor’s note: A good idea for South Africa – though it might be difficult to make sure the drillers actually inject the tracer though, but if it can be made to work for Texan cowboys it can be done for us South Africans.)

More …

Investing in ‘water-less’ green solutions imperative — Greenpeace

Business Day Live 17 October 2012.

INVESTING heavily in renewable energy resources that did not use water would stimulate the South African economy and halve the amount of water consumed by South Africa’s energy sector, Greenpeace South Africa said in a report released on Wednesday.

South Africa is a net importer of water and has already allocated 98% of its available fresh water. It is estimated the country’s coal-fired power generation uses 4.84% of the national water supply. According to Eskom’s website, about 77% of South Africa’s primary energy needs are met with coal…

Click here for the full article

The Energy-Water Nexus

Do the Math, Tom Murphy 2 October 2012.

Using physics and estimation to assess energy, growth, options—by Tom Murphy

The principal challenge of this century, in my view, will be adapting to a life without abundant, cheap fossil fuels. It has been the lifeblood of our society, and turns out to have some really fantastic qualities. The jury is still out as to whether we will develop suitable/affordable replacements. But additional challenges loom in parallel. Water is very likely to be one of them, which is especially pertinent in my region. For true believers in the universality of substitution, let me suggest two things. First, come to terms with the finite compactness of the periodic table. Second, try substituting delicious H2O with H2O2. It has an extra oxygen atom, and we all know that oxygen is a vital requisite for life, so our new product will be super-easy to market. Never-mind the hydrogen peroxide taste, and the death that will surely visit anyone foolish enough to adopt this substitution. Sometimes we’re just stuck without substitutes.

Substitution silliness aside, water and energy are intimately related in what has been termed the Energy-Water Nexus…

Click here for the full article.