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Fracking Is Draining Water From Areas In US Suffering Major Shortages 268

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-for-a-drink dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "RT reports that some of the most drought-ravaged areas of the US are also heavily targeted for oil and gas development using hydraulic fracturing — a practice that exacerbates water shortages with half of the oil and gas wells fracked across America since 2011 located in places suffering through drought. Taken together, all the wells surveyed from January 2011 to May 2013 consumed 97 billion gallons of water, pumped under high pressure to crack rocks containing oil or natural gas. Up to 10 million gallons can go into a single well. 'Hydraulic fracturing is increasing competitive pressures for water in some of the country's most water-stressed and drought-ridden regions,' says Mindy Lubber. 'Barring stiffer water-use regulations and improved on-the-ground practices, the industry's water needs in many regions are on a collision course with other water users, especially agriculture and municipal water use.' Nearly half (47%) of oil and gas wells recently hydraulically fractured in the U.S. and Canada are in regions with high or extremely high water stress. Amanda Brock, head of a water-treatment firm in Houston, says oil companies in California are already exploring ways to frack using the briny, undrinkable water found in the state's oil fields. While fracking consumes far less water than agriculture or residential uses, the impact can be huge on particular communities and is 'exacerbating already existing water problems,' says Monika Freyman. Hydraulic fracking is the 'latest party to come to the table,' says Freyman. The demands for the water are 'taking regions by surprise,' she says. More work needs to be done to better manage water use, given competing demand."
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Fracking Is Draining Water From Areas In US Suffering Major Shortages

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 06, 2014 @09:31AM (#46172777)

    That's not the point. These areas are already under heavy stress and the fracking just adds to it even more. And I have a sneaky suspicion that the industry underestimated the amount of water they need in order to get the permits - kind of like how Slashdot underestimated the hatred for beta.

    Are any of these drought ridden areas telling people to not flush their toilets?

    Some are. It depends on where but for example, in some parts of CA you're guided to flush after a couple of times o furinating and flush after a single shit. So pee twice - flush; shit once - flush.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 06, 2014 @09:33AM (#46172789)

    Hello, I live in north-central PA (just south of Corning, NY), there has been a lot of fracking here recently. The process does use a lot of water, for a while there were water tanker trucks driving around all over the place. But then all of a sudden the trucks disappeared. Why? Because the wells were all drilled and fracked and producing. They will produce for quite a few years before they need re-fracking. So the "gigantic water usage" only happens now and then.

  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @09:53AM (#46172969)

    Disclaimer, I'm no fan of this. However, this is article is missing critical information, namely, how much water do these drought ridden communities normally use? The number 97 billion sounds like a lot, but without some sort of baseline for comparison it could actually be a small percentage of total water demands for a community.

    A quick check shows that the nation uses something more than 300 billion gallons of water PER DAY.

    SO 97 billion gallons per year is less than 0.1% of that total.

    In other words, stopping fracking right now, and diverting that water to drought-plagued areas, would have negligible effect, if any.

  • Re:About beta. (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 06, 2014 @10:23AM (#46173269)

    This one could also be responsible.

    I think we need to go over their heads and let their boss know directly how much they're managing to fuck everything up.

    Here's his info.

  • by minstrelmike (1602771) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @01:48PM (#46175697)
    Here in Colorado, water is sold on a fairly pure market.
    And that _is_ a problem because economics is how we value scarce resources.
    We're not used to valuing water that highly. We're going to have to change which means higher food and energy prices which isn't better for anyone over the longterm.
    Last March at the excess water shares auction they hold every year where farmers buy additional allotments, agriculture lost to the frackers.
    California is out of water and they grow most of the food for America.
    And there is no easy solution. We need food AND oil AND money to pay for them (as well as clean water to drink and clean air to breathe).
    Economics isn't a solution; it just frames the problem properly.

The universe does not have laws -- it has habits, and habits can be broken.