Is Cane Sugar Production for Biofuel a Good Practice in Semi-Arid Systems? A Special Reference to the Olifants River Catchment, Mpumalanga, South Africa


The aim of this paper is to analyse the possible impacts of proposed biofuel production at Hoedspruit in the Olifants River Catchment. These impacts are looked at in terms of availability of water and subsequent consequences on downstream users, especially the Kruger National Park that is mandated to conserve and protect biodiversity in all facets and fluxes in its area of jurisdiction. Based upon a review of experiences with biofuel production and impacts around the world, water availability for sugar cane production to support proposed biofuel production was found to be a problem in the region that has an average rainfall of only 450 mmper annum. The Olifants River system already has a deficit of about 200 million m3/a; hence the sustainability of the sugar cane based biofuel industry in the proposed area is questioned in this review. It is advised that alternative plants for the production of biofuel that may not consume large quantities of water be examined.

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T. Gyedu-Ababio and F. Venter, "Is Cane Sugar Production for Biofuel a Good Practice in Semi-Arid Systems? A Special Reference to the Olifants River Catchment, Mpumalanga, South Africa," Journal of Water Resource and Protection, Vol. 5 No. 3, 2013, pp. 275-282. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2013.53028.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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