Fracking is draining water from US areas suffering major shortages – report

Weld County, Colorado (Reiuters / Rick Wilking)
Some of the most drought-ravaged areas of the US are also heavily targeted for oil and gas development using hydraulic fracturing – a practice that exacerbates water shortages – according to a new report. Three-quarters of the nearly 40,000 oil and gas wells drilled in the US since 2011 were located in areas of the country facing water scarcity, according to research by the Ceres investor network. Over half of those new wells were in areas experiencing drought conditions. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in those wells required the use of 97 billion gallons of water, Ceres found. “Hydraulic fracturing is increasing competitive pressures for water in some of the country’s most water-stressed and drought-ridden regions,” said Mindy Lubber, president of the Ceres green investors’ network. Lubber warned that the fracking boom across the US puts the industry on a “collision course” with other water users. Fracking is the highly controversial process of injecting water, sand, and various chemicals into layers of rock, in hopes of releasing oil and gas deep underground. Fracking in a single well can take millions of gallons of freshwater. Much of the drilling has occurred in areas mired in multi-year droughts. More
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