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United States Science Technology

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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  • Propaganda bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nickodeimus (1263214) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @08:25AM (#46172745)
    Hydraulic fracturing has been a method of drilling for oil for over 60 years. The only differences are that now they can turn the drill head from a vertical bore to a horizontal bore and the depth of the wells are much greater, too.

    That said, the water they use for this process is not water only - it has chemicals in it that assist with the fracturing process. Its non-potable water and therefore must be cleansed before its returned to the land. Because of the cost of the chemicals, they reuse the same water over and over for more than one well.

    This article \ series of articles is just propaganda put out by or influenced by saudi oil princes who are smart enough to co-opt environmentalists and conservationists to do their dirty work. Think about it. Who does the petroleum glut in the US harm the most? Oil producing nations, of course. And of course these oil producing nations want to stop that and get back to their profits any way that they can.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 06, 2014 @09:29AM (#46173327)

    Note that the water used for fracking doesn't have to be drinkable water. You can use sea water just as well. Also, most of that water is recovered on the first few days of production, as you "suck" it to get the oil/gas on the well. Over the lifetime of the well, it will produce an order of magnitude more water than what was used to stimulate it.

    The article isn't just missing critical information, it's also misrepresenting the info it has. There's a political agenda here, and it clearly shows.

  • Waste (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rjstanford (69735) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @11:41AM (#46174887) Homepage Journal

    Wasteful irrigation practices temporarily pull water out of the ground and, in general, either let it evaporate to rain down again somewhere else or store it briefly in foodstocks that will be eaten and returned to the system.
    Fracking takes water out of the ecosystem completely, since its used one time and the waste is typically then stored in containment wells "forever."

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