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Energy Risk: Fracking Increasing Competition for Water

Amy Mall's picture
  • Member since 2018
  • 51 items added with 22,655 views
  • Jun 21, 2013

Fracking Energy Risk

Amy Mall, Senior Policy Analyst, Washington, D.C.

A new investigation by AP has found that the vast majority of counties where fracking is occurring in seven states are also suffering from drought. The AP found that fracking is presenting new strains on water supplies in some drought-stricken areas of the country. Among the findings:

Colorado: Farmers are used to paying up to $100 for an acre-foot for water, but energy companies are paying some cities $1,200 to $2,900 per acre-foot.

Texas: some cotton farmers are scaling back production due to drought, and local water officials said “drillers are contributing to a drop in the water table in several areas.”

California: oil and gas companies want to drill new wells amid avocado and lemon groves, where irrigation comes from an already overdrawn aquifer or expensive water piped in from the distant Sierra Nevada mountains.

There is also a new report from the Carlsbad Current-Argus about water conditions in New Mexico. The report found that in Lakewood, north of Carlsbad, more than a dozen water well owners are seeking compensation from the state after their wells dried up. Other water well owners in the area have been “selling their water commercially and have over-pumped with no recharge in the aquifer.”

The president of the Otis Mutual Domestic Water said that “the current trend to sell water to the oil and gas industry is causing its water managers some concern.”

Photo credit: Fracking Energy Risk/shutterstock

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Paul O's picture
Paul O on Jun 20, 2013

Simple If the companies truck in their own water from parts of the country with plenty to spare, Will that do?

Gal Sitty's picture
Gal Sitty on Jun 20, 2013

I would say it’s premature to blame fracking specifically for these water issues instead of blaming oil drilling at large for it (of course, drought and population growth also exacerbate the problem). In fact, a recent report release by the Argonne National Lab found that conventional oil drilling is extremely water intensive, more so than fracking, using anywhere from two to 5.5 gallons of water for each gallon of crude oil.

Ivor O'Connor's picture
Ivor O'Connor on Jun 20, 2013

When you make your bed with the devil, that is oil industries, things happen on all fronts.

Igor Alexeev's picture
Igor Alexeev on Jun 21, 2013

Key components of  fracking cocktail are protected as trade secret.  If fracking caused serious groundwater contamination in Arizona/Texas deserts, it’s just too risky to consider it in more densely populated areas. 

New York citizens understand it very well, thus protests.

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