02 Jan '12, 2pm

Drumbeat: January 2, 2012

KAROO, South Africa — When a drought dried up their wells last year, hundreds of farmers and their families flocked to local fairgrounds here to pray for rain, and a call went out on the regional radio station imploring South Africans to donate bottled water. Covering much of the roughly 800 miles between Johannesburg and Cape Town, this arid expanse — its name means “thirsty land” — sees less rain in some parts than the Mojave Desert. Even so, Shell and several other large energy companies hope to drill thousands of natural gas wells in the region, using a new drilling technology that can require a million gallons of water or more for each well. Companies will also have to find a way to dispose of all the toxic wastewater or sludge that each well produces, since the closest landfill or industrial-waste facility that can handle the waste is hundreds of miles away.

Full article: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8796

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