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Index > Environment > United States of America > Hydrofracking Could Strain Water Resources in West

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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


Spread of Hydrofracking Could Strain Water Resources in West, Study Finds

By Felicity Barringer May 02, 2013 The rapid expansion of hydraulic fracturing to retrieve once-inaccessible reservoirs of oil and gas could put pressure on already-stressed water resources from the suburbs of Fort Worth to western Colorado.

The rapid expansion of hydraulic fracturing to retrieve once-inaccessible reservoirs of oil and gas could put pressure on already-stressed water resources from the suburbs of Fort Worth to western Colorado, according to a new report from a nonprofit group that advises investors about companies’ environmental risks.

“Given projected sharp increases” in the production of oil and gas by the technique commonly known as fracking, the report from the group Ceres said, “and the intense nature of local water demands, competition and conflicts over water should be a growing concern for companies, policy makers and investors.”

The overall amount of water used for fracking, even in states like Colorado and Texas that have been through severe droughts in recent years, is still small: in many cases 1 percent or even as little as a tenth of 1 percent of overall consumption, far less than agricultural or municipal uses.

But those figures mask more significant local effects, the report’s author, Monika Freyman, said in an interview.

“You have to look at a county-by-county scale to capture the intense and short-term impact on water supplies,” she said.

“The whole drilling and fracking process is a well-orchestrated, moment-by-moment process” requiring that one million to five million gallons of water are available for a brief period, she added.

“They need an intense amount of water for a few days, and that’s it.”

One of the options that oil and gas drillers have is recycling the water that comes back out of wells, which is called “produced water.”

But the water injected into wells is laced with a proprietary mixture of chemicals and sand, and the water returning from thousands of feet below the surface can also contain natural pollutants or even radioactivity.

Recycled water must therefore be treated, which can be expensive.

An earlier report done by engineers at the University of Texas, Austin, showed that 8,800 acre-feet — nearly 2.9 billion gallons — were used for fracking in 2011 in Tarrant County in North Texas, where Fort Worth is located and which has gone to the Supreme Court to get access to Oklahoma’s water.

And in the Eagle Ford shale formation in South Texas, particularly in Webb County, some researchers estimate that the amount of water used for fracking represents as much as one-third of the area’s annual groundwater recharge, the amount of surface water that percolates back to the underground aquifer supplying the region.

But the Ceres report notes that drillers in the Eagle Ford formation are also expanding their use of brackish, undrinkable water in place of fresh water.

While the local effects in Texas have been sufficient to spur the state’s Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry there, to encourage recycling by loosening rules governing that process, it is Colorado that faces the most widespread potential conflicts between fracking and other water uses, according to Ceres’s new report.

Kenneth H. Carlson, an engineering professor at Colorado State University, saw little difference between drillers buying needed water and cities buying water from farmers.

“It’s a private commodity that people can do with what they want,” he said. “We’re not going to go thirsty.

We’re just going to have to pay more.”

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