Report: Parts of U.S. Experiencing Water Shortages Due to Fracking
February 6, 2014 6:00 PM
Ninety-seven billion gallons of water was used for drilling oil and gas wells in the U.S. since 2011
A new study shows that our search for energy via fracking in certain parts of the country is taking a toll on the water supply.
, a report by the Ceres investor network shows that 75 percent of the nearly 40,000 oil and gas wells drilled in the U.S. since 2011 were located in parts of the country that now have a water scarcity problem.
Fracking is where water, sand, and various chemicals are injected into layers of rock to release oil and gas deep underground. But fracking in a single well can require millions of gallons of freshwater.
This is problematic for many communities, especially those in rural towns that have a limited water supply. The amount of water needed for fracking can drain aquifers used for local communities, leaving them in drought conditions.
Ceres discovered that 97 billion gallons of water were used for drilling oil and gas wells in the U.S. since 2011. Half of that went into wells in Texas, which is experiencing a serious drought that has lasted years. To make matters worse, fracking is expected to double in the state over the next five years.
According to the
report, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said 29 communities across the state could run out of water in 90 days, and that many reservoirs in west Texas are at around 25 percent capacity.
Texas isn't the only state with water supply issues due to fracking. In Colorado, 97 percent of wells were in areas with water shortages. Fracking water in the state is expected to double to six billion gallons by 2015. Other states, like New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, are in similar situations.
In California, 96 percent of new wells were located in areas where water is limited. The state even declared a drought emergency last month.
In April 2013, U.S. District Judge Paul Grewal in San Jose ruled that the federal government violated U.S. environmental law by declining to perform an
environmental impact study
on fracking in the Monterey Formation.
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