Texas: 34 Communities Have 90 Days of Water Left, 12 Have Just 45 Days Before They Run Dry

Shortage of water and fracking in Texas

Large hoses run from hydraulic fracturing drill sites in Midland, Texas. Fracking uses huge amounts water to free oil and natural gas trapped deep in underground rocks. With fresh water not as plentiful, companies have been looking for ways to recycle their waste. Photograph: Pat Sullivan/AP

“We have sort of taken water for granted for a long time. And I think that time is over. I think its valuation has gone up. Some communities are in more trouble than others,” said St. Mary’s University water law professor Amy Hardberger.

And as San Antonio and other large water-users grow in population — and go shopping for more water resources — they’re dealing with smaller communities which are becoming more protective of their water rights.

Experts say this is the trend, even should the skies do open up. (source)

Residents in 34 communities across Texas face running out of water in less than three months. A dozen more have just 45 days worth of water left. Experts have warned that even if the rain started today it would have to continue at a steady and heavy rate for weeks in order to replenish supplies. That scenario is highly unlikely as we head towards summer.

One area, Pebble Beach, has just received a grant for the construction of a new well and a 30,000 gallon ground storage tank. Sadly not every drought hit area will be so lucky.

Many feel the lack of water is not just caused by nature. Fracking, which uses a massive amount of water, is being blamed by some for making Texas even shorter on water than it needs to be. According to The Guardian:

“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.

Without new tougher regulations on water use, she warned industry could be on a “collision course” with other water users.

“It’s a wake-up call,” said Prof James Famiglietti, a hydrologist at the University of California, Irvine. “We understand as a country that we need more energy but it is time to have a conversation about what impacts there are, and do our best to try to minimise any damage.”

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. (my emphasis)

California is in a similar situation. With a drought emergency declared last month, the state can ill afford to lose waster to oil and gas drilling yet new wells are being constructed in areas where water is already scarce.

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What’s the point of having copious amounts of shale gas if we are dying of thirst?

Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!

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