Fracking uses enormous amounts of water in our driest areas


Fracking uses upwards of millions of gallons of water per well in ten of thousands of wells, often in the driest parts of the country. This is deranged. Short-term profits are being allowed to create long-term damage to water supplies and communities. The water used in fracking is mixed with various noxious and dangerous chemicals, poisoning aquifers, as well as depleting water supplies in areas already in drought or experiencing serious water problems.

The Ceres report title says it all, ‘Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Stress: Water Demand By the Numbers’.

Nearly half of the wells hydraulically fractured since 2011 were in regions with high or extremely high water stress and over 55 percent were in areas experiencing drought.

In Colorado and California, 97 and 96 percent of the wells, respectively, were in regions with high or extremely high water stress. In New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, the majority of wells were in high or extremely high water stress regions. In Texas, which currently has the highest concentration of hydraulic fracturing activity in the U.S., more than half of the wells examined (52 percent) were in high or extremely high water stress regions.

Gosh, that sure sounds sustainable, doesn’t it?

The Ceres report provides a series of recommendations which include recycling of water used during fracking (a practice already becoming more commonplace among drillers); using wastewater or brackish water; disclosing more information, not only on water use from the company perspective, but also on water availability and requirements for the basin as a whole; and tougher regulations governing the use of water in dry regions.

Translation: Drillers have been using drinking water and lots of it for fracking and are now grudgingly using alternatives since the media is watching and there is a threat of more damned gummint regulation.

More from The Guardian, Inside Climate News, and Naked Capitalism.