The Democratic Alliance has resolved to support hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo, provided that it does not damage the environment, DA MP James Lorimer said on Sunday.

The party's 2012 federal congress in Boksburg said it would support the process, provided government reviewed current applications by gas companies to ensure compliance with legislation.

It wanted government to initiate a strategic environmental assessment of “current unknowns” in order to facilitate responsible decision-making.

Fracking should be done in accordance with land use planning by local and provincial authorities. Input from local communities was vital.

Shafts must be set at an agreed distance from agricultural and commercial buildings and work sites.

Water for test holes should either be brought in or prudent use of aquifers should be agreed on with landowners, environmental and water authorities, the party resolved.

It also wanted an agreed and monitored protocol for ensuring integrity of shaft casings.

It wanted full disclosure of chemical substances used in fracking which should be non-toxic where feasible.

Karoo aquifers provide the sole water supply for nearly 80 percent of rural settlements in South Africa.

Shell's groundwater provision, as included in its environmental management plan, was inadequate as it failed to address the risk fracking posed to aquifers

The Eastern Cape's road infrastructure would not be able to sustain additional traffic associated with fracking activities.

Current regulations governing fracking were inadequate, the DA noted.

All water exiting drill shafts should be collected and cleaned to avoid pollution of water resources.

Roads damaged by prospecting or extracting activities must be rehabilitated by the companies responsible.

Contraventions by companies must be revealed to the public, and dust and noise should be controlled.

It also wanted appropriate legislation and monitoring to be put in place by government.

Tough penalties must be given to fracking contraventions, the DA resolved. - Sapa