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Index > Environment > United States of America > Nearly half of fracking happens in places short on water

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Hydraulic Fracturing Faces Growing Competition for Water Supplies in Water-Stressed Regions

Escalating Water Strains In Fracking Regions

Nearly half of fracking happens in places short on water

As Oil and Gas Drilling Competes for Water,
One New Mexico County Says No

Spread of Hydrofracking Could Strain Water Resources in Western USA

Investors Tackle Fracking And Water Scarcity Risks

Growing Water Scarcity in US is 'Hidden' Financial Risk for Investors

Fracking Can Strain U.S. Water Supplies

The Fracker’s Quest: More Water

Water Protection Gets Shortchanged in Proposed Fracking Rules

Nearly one in 10 U.S. watersheds is “stressed”

USDA, EPA Partnership Supports Water Quality Trading To Benefit Environment, Economy

Halliburton Loophole

"Father of Fracking"
George Mitchell
concerns over environmental
impacts of fracking

History of Fracking
Only a new technology

USA Fracking Stories

A Texan tragedy

Gas injection may have triggered earthquakes in Texas

California Lags in Fracking Regulations

All In for California Water

Fracking in Michigan

Fracking in Michigan Potential Impact on Health, Environment, Economy

Hydraulic fracturing of Marcellus Shale

Methane Gas from Marcellus Shale Drilling

Marcellus Shale Gas Economics

Health impacts of Marcellus shale gas drilling

Pennsylvania Fracking

Fracking in Virginia

Lesson From Wyoming Fracking

Water Pollution from Fracking

Hydraulic Fracturing Poses Substantial Water Pollution Risks

Methane in drinking water wells

Abandoned gas wells leak

Natural Gas Leaks Discovered in Boston

Methane Leaks Under Streets of Boston

Methane leaks make fracking dirty

Fracking effects real estate values

Fracking stimulates earthquakes

Protecting Gas Pipelines From Earthquakes

Gas Pipeline Earthquake - Simulations

America's crumbling pipelines

Averting Pipeline Failures

Dangers to Underground Pipelines

Gas Pipelines Could Serve as Wireless Links

Government Action needed on a National Energy Policy

EPA Releases Update on Ongoing Hydraulic Fracturing Study

Solar Booster Shot for Natural Gas Power Plants

Natural Gas Pricing Reform to Facilitate Carbon Tax Policy

Investing in fracking

What Oil Prices Have in Store?

Methane Out, Carbon Dioxide In

Health impacts of Marcellus shale gas drilling

Professor Ingraffea

Anti-Fracking Billboard

Natural Gas Drilling

Threats to Biodiversity

Pronghorn Migration
hindered by gas development

Microbes in a Fracking Site

Protozoa May Hold Key to World Water Safety

Shale Gas Production

Research into the Fracking Controversy

Convert Methane Into Useful Chemicals

Methane Natural Gas Into Diesel

'Natural Gas' at the molecular level

Arctic Methane risks

Arctic Methane Seeps

Great Gas Hydrate Escape

Undersea Methane Seep Ecosystem

Methane in the Atmosphere of Early Earth

Methane Natural Gas Linked to Climate Change

Cutting Methane Pollutants Would Slow Sea Level Rise

California | Colorado | Dakota | Marcellus | Massachusetts | Michigan | New York |
Ohio | Pennsylvania | Texas | Utah | Virginia | Wyoming

Shale Gas


Nearly half of fracking happens in places short on water

By David R. Baker San Francisco Chronicle

May 02, 2013 Hydraulic fracturing uses large amounts of pressurized water — mixed with sand and chemicals — to crack subterranean rocks and release oil or natural gas. Up to 10 million gallons of water can go into a single well.

And according to a new study, it’s happening in many places where water supplies are already stretched perilously thin.

Fracking for oil and gas is a thirsty business.

Hydraulic fracturing uses large amounts of pressurized water — mixed with sand and chemicals — to crack subterranean rocks and release oil or natural gas. Up to 10 million gallons of water can go into a single well.

And according to a new study, it’s happening in many places where water supplies are already stretched perilously thin.

The study, released today by the nonprofit group Ceres, examined 25,450 fracked wells across the United States and found that 47 percent lie in areas that face high or extremely high “water stress.”

In those areas, at least 80 percent of the available fresh water is already being used in homes, farms or businesses.

The numbers have big implications.

Fracking has triggered an oil and gas drilling boom across the United States, from Pennsylvania to California.

But some places that have seen extensive fracking, such as west Texas and Colorado, have suffered recent droughts.

Even in good years, they aren’t exactly drenched in rain.

The spread of fracking could lead to competition among drillers, farmers and homeowners, said Monika Freyman, manager of the water program at Ceres.

“It’s already starting to happen,” said Freyman, who co-wrote the report.

“The companies will be able to get their water, because they can afford to pay the most. But it’s going to increase the competition and conflicts for water, especially in regions that are experiencing drought.”

Ceres works with investors and businesses to encourage sustainability, with a particular focus on climate change and water scarcity.

Freyman and her colleagues used records from FracFocus, a website where oil and gas companies post information on fracked wells.

They compared the location of the wells to water supply data from the World Resources Institute.

The FracFocus well records run from January of 2011 through September of 2012. During that period, 65.8 billion gallons of water were pumped underground for fracking, according to the study.

And that figure — roughly equal to the amount of water 2.5 million Americans use in a year — is almost certainly an undercount.

Not every oil company reports its fracking operations on FracFocus.

California, which just ended a rainy season remarkably free of rain, does not feature prominently in the Ceres report.

So far, fracking has not become as widespread here as it has in North Dakota or Texas.

And California’s unique underground geology has limited the amount of water needed for fracking.

Shale rocks here contain large amounts of briney water along with the oil, so pressurizing the well doesn’t take as much water pumped from the surface.

During the study period, the average fracked well in California used 166,714 gallons of water, according to Ceres.

Ceres wants the companies that engage in fracking to do a better job planning for water use and recycling, and having discussions about both with the public. Unlike many of its environmental allies, the organization does not take a position on fracking itself, pro or con.

“We really want to see better water management planning, from industry and regulators and water managers,” Freyman said.

“That will start the dialogue on, ‘How are you getting your water?

What are the challenges to recycling the water?

What’s your community engagement on getting that water?’”

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