Tag Archives: Colorado

Fracking Compounds Worries Over Water Shortages

Fracking sites in Colorado. Image: Susan Heller/Getty Images

Fracking sites in Colorado. Image: Susan Heller/Getty Images

A new report by the nonprofit group Ceres, which advises on green investment, indicates that 55% of hydraulic fracturing in the United States since 2011 has taken place in drought-stricken areas, such as California, Colorado and Texas.

And 47% of the wells are in regions with high or extremely high water stress. “High” water stress means that between 40% and 80% of a region’s surface and groundwater are already allocated for other uses (residential, agricultural, industrial); “extremely high” water stress means that more than 80% is spoken for.

The report’s findings are significant because fracking uses a lot of water. Each well can require up to 10 million gallons of water in the drilling process, which pumps chemicals and water into shale deposits thousands of feet underground to break up the rock and release natural gas or oil. According to the report, 97 billion gallons of water went into the ground at 39,300 sites between January 2011 and May 2013.

The oil and gas industry points out that its use of water is comparatively small. In many states, fracking draws well under 1% of all water used, according to sources. The industry also says it will increase the amount of recycled water used (from none or next to none in most places to … some, presumably). Finally, there is some evidence from a University of Texas study that fracking reduces water use overall because it decreases reliance on water-intensive coal production, as it pushes utilities to use more natural gas power.

Read more:

Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Stress: Water Demand by the Numbers” – Ceres

Report: Fracking raising water supply worriesUSA Today

California drought sets up fracking face-offSan Francisco Chronicle

Fracking depleting water supplies in America’s driest areas The Guardian

Fracking for natural gas may help us save waterTime

Related posts:

U.S. Shale Map: Could Be a Lot of Fracking Drilling in the Lower 48

Serious Water Conservation Requires Layered Approach and Emotional Commitment

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Filed under Drought, Fracking, Groundwater, Industry, North America, Research

Dec. 18, 2013: What’s in Your Water?

Water_pollution

Image: U.S. EPA

Today I’m posting a short roundup of international news about substances found in the water.

Hormone-disrupting chemicals found in water at fracking sites

A study of hydraulic fracturing sites in Colorado finds substances that have been linked to infertility, birth defects and cancer. (United States)

Ontario’s Grand River loaded with artificial sweeteners, study finds

It’s so chock full of artificial sweeteners that scientists say the chemicals can be used to track the movement of treated waste in the region’s municipal water supplies. (Canada)

Communication, cooperation key to water issues in Africa and Asia

Despite radically different cultures, climate, geography, and levels of government involvement in improving the lives of its citizens, Ethiopia, India, and China all face similar issues of water sanitation and hygiene. (Africa, Asia)

EPA drills wells to test groundwater contamination

As scientists home in on the source of contamination near Texas’ Donna Reservoir Superfund site, they drilled new wells this week to test the groundwater. (U.S.)

Pollution takes a toll on aquatic life in 150 river stretches

Discharge of untreated water in India has left 150 river stretches across the country too polluted to support any aquatic life. (India)

Judge approves $165 million settlements in Passaic River pollution case

A New Jersey judge has approved a pair of settlements worth $165.4 million to the state from nearly 300 companies, towns and public agencies accused of polluting the Passaic River. (U.S.)

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Filed under Asia, Environment, Law, North America, Pollution, Rivers and Watersheds