The Western Organization of Research Councils has published a report titled ‘Gone for Good: Fracking and Water Loss in the West’ on the issue of depleting water resources caused by hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), the method of extracting oil and gas from the ground. The report focuses on the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
According to the report, 87-174 billion gallons of water were used for fracking in the country last year and this “level of water use for oil and gas production simply cannot be sustained.”
Robert LeResche, WORC spokesman and Powder River Basin Resource Council vice chair, has said that “The oil and gas production methods that are resurrecting our oil and gas industry have a very dark side. Those methods are threatening to suck us dry of our limited water resources.”
He added that “Unless our states take real action soon, we stand to watch our agricultural economies, and even our human habitation of some places, disappear. Ninety-nine percent of rural Americans rely on groundwater for their domestic needs, as do 51 percent of all Americans.”
The report also said that the data and processes used to track water used for fracking are not sufficient.
Defending the use of fracking to extract shale oil and gas, North Dakota Petroleum Council spokeswoman Tessa Sandstrom said that shale well consumption accounted for 0.3% of freshwater used in the US in 2011, compared to 0.5% used by golf courses.