Fracking’s Terrifying Water Usage Trends Spell Disaster

Fracking is destroying our drinking water supply.

(More articles on fracking down below.)

The price for the ‘commodity’ water will skyrocket in the future and a lot more people will get sick and die from cancer.


Fracking’s Terrifying Water Usage Trends Spell Disaster (Common Dreams, Feb 6, 2014):

New study shows that fracking boom is happening in places that can least afford to lose precious water supplies

Almost half (47%) of all U.S. wells are being developed in regions with high to extremely high water stress. This means that more than 80 percent of the annual available water is already allocated to municipal, industrial and agricultural users in these regions. (Source: Ceres)The irony of fracking: It destroys the natural resource it needs most. The tragedy for those living nearby fracking operations: That natural resource is the fresh—and increasingly scarce—water supply on which they, too, depend.

And not only does fracking—or hydraulic fracturing—demand enormous amounts of fresh water no matter where it takes places, a troubling new study released Wednesday found that a majority of places where the controversial drilling technique is most prevalent are the same regions where less and less water is available.

Overlay the regions where most of the fracking is being done in North American with the places experiencing the most troubling and persistent water resource problems and the resulting picture becomes an alarm bell as politicians and the fossil fuel industry continue to push fracking expansion as the savior for the U.S. and Canada’s energy woes.

According to the report, Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Stress: Water Demand by the Numbers (pdf), produced by the non-profit Ceres investor network, much of the oil and gas fracking activity in both the U.S. and Canada is happening in “arid, water stressed regions, creating significant long-term water sourcing risks” that will strongly and negatively impact the local ecosystem, communities, and people living nearby.

“Hydraulic fracturing is increasing competitive pressures for water in some of the country’s most water-stressed and drought-ridden regions,” said Ceres President Mindy Lubber, in announcing Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Stress: Water Demand by the Numbers. “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.”

Richard Heinberg, senior fellow of the California-based Post Carbon Institute and author of a recent book on the “false promise” of the fracking industry, says the irony of the study’s findings “would be delicious if it weren’t so terrifying.”

“Nationally,” according to Heinberg, “only about 50 percent of fracking wastewater is recycled. Billions of gallons of freshwater are still taken from rivers, streams, and wells annually for this purpose, and—after being irremediably polluted—this water usually ends up being injected into deep disposal wells. That means it is no longer available to the hydrological cycle that sustains all terrestrial life.”

Click here to look at Ceres’ interactive map on fracking and water use.

The study drew on industry data detailing water usage from from 39,294 oil and gas wells from January 2011 through May 2013 and compared that information with “water stress indicator maps” developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI).

What it found:

Over 55 percent of the wells hydraulically fractured were in areas experiencing drought and 36 percent overlay regions with significant groundwater depletion – key among those, California which is in the midst of a historic drought and Texas, which has the highest concentration of shale energy development and hydraulic fracturing activity in the U.S.


In Texas, which includes the rapidly developing Eagle Ford and Permian Basin shale plays, more than half (52 percent) of the wells were in high or extreme high water stress areas. In Colorado and California, 97 and 96 percent of the wells, respectively, were in regions with high or extremely high water stress. Nearly comparable trends were also shown in New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Among hundreds of hydraulic fracturing companies whose water use was evaluated, those with the highest exposure to water sourcing risk are Anadarako (APC), Encana (ECA), Pioneer (PXD) and Apache (APA). Most of the wells being developed by each of these companies are in regions of high or extreme water stress. The top three service providers, Halliburton, (HAL) Schlumberger (SLB) and Baker Hughes (BHI), handled about half of the water used for hydraulic fracturing nationally and also face water sourcing risks.

Although water use for hydraulic fracturing is often less than two percent of state water demands, the impacts can be large at the local level, sometimes exceeding the water used by all of the residents in a county.

“It’s a wake-up call,” Professor James Famiglietti, a hydrologist at the University of California, Irvine, told the Guardian. “We understand as a country that we need more energy but it is time to have a conversation about what impacts there are, and do our best to try to minimise any damage.”

The irony of the latest findings, explained Heinberg in an email to Common Dreams, is based on the fact that “much of the fracking boom is centered in the western United States—Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and California—which just happens to be drying up, likely as a result of climate change. And that climate change, in turn, is happening because we’re burning fossil fuels like oil and natural gas.”

Heinberg observed that the Ceres report is largely written from the standpoint of the oil and gas companies—using much of their data—and directed at those who may be invested or would like to invest in the continuation or proliferation of the industry. However, he indicated, detailing the increasing difficulties the industry and its investors are likely to experience in sourcing water for their operations is still valuable for those opposed to fracking.

“In California, where I live,” he said, “we’re experiencing a 500-year drought. The grape-wine industry here in Sonoma County is facing disaster. Farmers in the Central Valley are weighing whether to plant at all this year. The fact that California’s Democratic governor [Jerry Brown] wants to spend what little water we have on fracking—which will only make our climate problems worse—makes the report frighteningly relevant.”

More info on fracking:

Prof. Chris Busby For RT: Wrecking The Earth: Fracking Has GRAVE RADIATION Risks Few Talk About

Texas: The Worst Drought In Two Generations Is Choking Water Supply, Which Is Why Residents Now Turn Against Fracking

‘The Real Threat: Acid Jobs’

Fracking Our Food Supply – Livestock Falling Ill In Fracking Regions

Fracking The Great Lakes

Fracking Chemical Cocktail Interview – ‘Fracktastic’ Radionuclides And Total Destruction Coming Your Way (Video)

David Letterman On Fracking:‘We’re Screwed’ (Video)

Human-Made Earthquakes Reported In Central U.S (Reuters)

US Government Confirms Link Between Earthquakes And Fracking

European Gas Giant Backs French Fear Of Fracking

Texas Forces Firms To Open Up On ‘Fracking’

Fracking Hell: Toxic And Radioactive Waste – The Untold Story

The Oil and Gas Industry’s 800-Pound Gorilla: RADIATION!

‘Fracking’ Result (= Contamination) For UK Shale Gas Will Be Kept Secret Until 2015

US: Natural Gas Wells’ Contaminated Water Hits Rivers

GASLAND Trailer 2010 (Documentary)

1 thought on “Fracking’s Terrifying Water Usage Trends Spell Disaster”

  1. It seems to all be whirling around at the same time…..a perfect storm. Fukushima (the biggest world disaster), the global financial collapse, the shredding of any new growth in any society, growing poverty and illness, environmental problems, rising sea levels, droughts, food and water shortages………….the entire system is being caught up in a tornado such as we have never seen in recorded history.
    Fracking will die because the entire society that supports it is collapsing. Like strip mining, it will become obvious to anyone the costs far exceed any benefits. As the economy continues to slow and sputter, need for more fuel will be the least of our problems, and the process will be set aside.
    I never thought I would see the end of a civilization, but that is what we are entering……much more rapidly than any known ones before us.
    I have often pondered why great civilizations vanished without a trace. I remember the first pyramid I ever saw. It was over 6000 years old, and so well put together, the engineering was so fine, one could not slip a business card between the stones. Nothing so crude as grout was used, and the math involved must have been quite sophisticated. Snafu, the first known great pharaoh of Egypt to build pyramids had to build three before they could be made to stand without collapsing. His name still remains and to this day, indicates involved, messy projects that never work…….It was not child’s play.
    When they found similar structures in Central America, nobody could figure how the technology got so far across the world. Nobody ever considered they might have had far more sophisticated traveling skills than we ever thought about.
    If one goes inside the Pyramid in the Valley of the Kings, it is obvious to those who have been there that some form of lighting more advanced than oil lamps had to be engaged. There isn’t enough oxygen inside to support candles or oil lamps. Their lighting had to come from more developed sources, possibly solar…..but who knows?
    I have wondered why they vanished. Napoleon’s archaeologists were able to take the Rosetta stone and break the code of hieroglyphs using ancient Greek as a basis. That was an exciting
    breakthrough, but we need far more information…..and it is long gone.
    I used to think it was disease, war, climate change………the guesses are plentiful, but little fact to back them up.
    Now, we are on the precipice of the same thing, but this time, it is global, not just regional. Even worse, most folks don’t realize it, and our fool leaders are doing nothing to prepare for it. Nothing can be done about Fukushima, but they could start raising food indoors, working on better water cleansing processes……..but they do nothing.
    They could outlaw fracking and other destructive corporate activities, but they do nothing but enable more of the same insanity. Are they trying to destroy us, or are they just stupid?
    I have no answers.


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