Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Let them drink gas

A new study by the Ceres Investor network notes that fracking is gulping up water in some of the driest parts of the US.
Of the nearly 40,000 oil and gas wells drilled since 2011, three-quarters were located in areas where water is scarce, and 55% were in areas experiencing drought, the report by the Ceres investor network found.
Fracking those wells used 97bn gallons of water, raising new concerns about unforeseen costs of America's energy rush.
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 It can take millions of gallons of fresh water to frack a single well, and much of the drilling is tightly concentrated in areas where water is in chronically short supply, or where there have been multi-year droughts.
Half of the 97bn gallons of water was used to frack wells in Texas, which has experienced severe drought for years – and where production is expected to double over the next five years.
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 A number of small communities in Texas oil and gas country have already run out of water or are in danger of running out of water in days, pushed to the brink by a combination of drought and high demand for water for fracking.
Twenty-nine communities across Texas could run out of water in 90 days, according to the Texas commission on environmental quality. Many reservoirs in west Texas are at only 25% capacity.
Nearly all of the wells in Colorado (97%) were located in areas where most of the ground and surface water is already stretched between farming and cities, the report said. It said water demand for fracking in the state was expected to double to 6bn gallons by 2015 – or about twice as much as the entire city of Boulder uses in a year.
In California, where a drought emergency was declared last month, 96% of new oil and gas wells were located in areas where there was already fierce competition for water.
The pattern holds for other regions caught up in the oil and gas rush. Most of the wells in New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming were also located in areas of high water stress, the report said.
Out in California, at least, they can use the natural gas to run the desalination plants the state will have to resort to for its future water supply.

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