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Drought conditions and water restrictions in West Texas have made residents even more aware of local water consumption. Water is not just a household issue, but an oil and gas industry issue as well. Water is necessary to complete the hydraulic fracturing process. The amount of water used per well varies, but the process to frack a single, deep shale well can require 3 to 5 million gallons of water. Check out the infographics below to see how that compares to other uses for water supply.

State Impact NPR Pennsylvania – Marcellus Graphic
Energy InDepth – The facts on hydraulic fracturing and water use

waterA report released by Ceres, Hydraulic Fracturing & Water Stress: Water Demand by the Numbers, analyzes rising water needs associated with hydraulic fracturing across the U.S. It also includes evaluations of oil and gas gas company water use in eight regions with intense shale energy development and the most significant water challenges, and recommendations for mitigating risks.

The Energy and Environment Program at the Atlantic Council has also compiled a white paper on Sustainable Water Management in the Texas Oil and Gas Industry, evaluating freshwater impacts and utilization of alternatives such as produced and/or brackish water for fracking operations.

To view regional water needs, current use, and projected water shortages by the Texas Water Development Board check out their Interactive State Water Plan. The Consortium’s area includes parts of water regions E, F, G, and O.

In an effort to address the shortage of available freshwater in West Texas, a number of unique efforts are underway in the region. The cities of Midland, Abilene, and San Angelo entered into the West Texas Water Partnership. This alliance enables the participating cities to share water resources and is the first step in addressing long term supply shortages. Communities are also investing in water re-use projects, desalination, and other alternative options in the face of water supply concerns.

The oil and gas industry is also exploring alternatives to keep costs down and be good stewards of our valuable resources. Apache Corp. has pursued a system in Irion County using Santa Rosa brackish water and recycled produced water. Halliburton launched H2O Forward Service, to explore technology and water solutions to aid in the sustainable development of the oil and gas industry.


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