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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Potential groundwater contamination from oil drilling in the Okavango
Author(s): Sheldon, R
Esterhuyse, S
Lukas, A
Greenwood, S
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Keywords: Oil drilling
Groundwater contamination
Issue Date: Oct-2023
Date Deposited: 28-Jun-2023
Citation: Sheldon R, Esterhuyse S, Lukas A & Greenwood S (2023) Potential groundwater contamination from oil drilling in the Okavango. <i>Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C</i>, 131, Art. No.: 103430.
Abstract: Canadian oil and gas company, Reconnaissance Energy Africa (ReconAfrica), plans to exploit potential oil reserves in the Cubango Okavango River Basin (CORB) in Namibia and Botswana, where little is known about the local groundwater systems and how contamination and its effects could impact the region. Using borehole data from target oil and gas areas, we calculated hydraulic gradients, flow direction, and flow velocity to map potential groundwater contamination effects from oil and gas drilling in the region. We also plotted the major geological structures, calculated flowpaths, and estimated travel times for contaminated groundwater that may travel along these preferential flowpaths from the drill sites to the Okavango River and Delta. Results indicate that contaminated groundwater from the oil lease areas could take 3–23.5 years to reach the Okavango River system via the shallow sandy aquifer, but in a worst-case scenario, contamination could reach the Delta within four days via structures associated with dykes and faults that serve as primary flowpaths. Such contamination could adversely affect human health and the region's ecosystems and biodiversity. We recommend prohibiting oil exploration and production activities within the CORB until future studies can determine the impacts of hydrocarbon extraction with greater certainty.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.pce.2023.103430
Rights: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. You are not required to obtain permission to reuse this article.
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