Energy Collective

May 2, 2013

Hydraulic Fracking & Water Pollution

Source: http://theenergycollective.com, April 30, 2013
By: Grant McDermott

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In planning my series on the environmental impacts of natural gas for The Energy Collective, I had always intended for my third post to cover the critical issue of water needs. While climate concerns may dominate for some (see my previous posts), it seems fair to say that the most contentious aspect of the shale gas revolution is related to fears over high water demands and contamination risks posed by hydraulic fracturing, i.e. “fracking”.

Unfortunately for me, Jesse Jenkins inadvertently pre-empted my article with a great recent post asking how much water is actually consumed by fracking for shale gas? (Short answer, probably not nearly as much as you think.) While I don’t wish to reproduce Jesse’s article verbatim, I think a recapitulation of his main points is in order:

  • The U.S. fracking industry was responsible for around 0.3 percent of the country’s total freshwater consumption in 2011. Even in arid regions like Texas, this figure is probably not much larger than one percent.