It talked about how the California drought is shaping the conversation about fracking in that state. It’s a conversation I keep pushing here in Colorado too. Last year, Governor Hickenlooper wrote to president Obama to tell him that Colorado was facing a “gap” in water supplies. Meanwhile he continued to push fracking and compel cities and counties to sell their water to fracking companies.
When some of us got upset and started raising a ruckus, we were told to calm down.
Then, as in the article about California’s fracking water problems, industry insiders and pro-fracking folk tried to simmer us anti-frackers with lines like, “the amount of water used for fracking is quite small when compared to other uses for water.”
And… On the surface, that’s true.
As a percentage, yes, fracking uses less water than agriculture, less water than all the private homes in the state, less water than livestock… Etc.
Because there are some major differences between the water we use for agriculture and livestock and personal use and the water that gets used in fracking.
Water we use for most things is used over and over and over again – because it is returned to the water cycle during or after its use.
Fracking water is different though. Often referred to as fracked water by fracking opponents and produced water by frackers, this water is so contaminated that after it is pumped down into the ground, fracturing the bedrock beneath our feet to release hydrocarbons, oil, natural gas, methane and other chemicals nature saw fit to bury, it is sucked back up (or most of it is, some of it stays down there forever more) and put back into tanker trucks where it is *supposed to be* hauled off to a disposal site. A “produced water” disposal site is called an injection well. And at these sites, the fracked water is taken and pumped thousands of feet below the surface of the ground where *we hope* it will stay forever – never to return to the surface, or the water cycle. It is dead water.
It is water so toxic and caustic that when it spills, it kills all the plant life it comes into contact with. Water that is too toxic to drink or shower in or even flush down a toilet lest it get into streams and rivers. It is water so dirty that the only thing we can do with it is bury it under the ground and hope it never comes back up.
Each time a well is fractured or fracked, it takes up to 5 million gallons of water – or enough water to supply 25 households for a year.
The difference, again, is that the water used by those 25 households – goes back into the system. It goes back into the world and the water cycle to be used again and again.
The water used by the frackers – is gone forever. And it’s not as if they are only fracking one well. In Colorado there are over 40,000 active fracking wells.
So, that five million gallons of water just became two hundred TRILLION gallons of water gone from the water cycle FOREVER AND EVER. Or, enough water to supply one million households with water for a year, water that could then go on to be used for crops or livestock or a thousand other things. That’s enough water to supply nearly every household in Colorado!! (Assuming 5.5 million people and average household size of 4 people.) AND that’s assuming each well is only fracked once per year.
So, now that you know the facts and we’re facing another drought year, how do you feel about selling your water to the frackers?
Personally, I’d rather use it on my garden. It might be the only chance I have at affording fresh vegetables this year!
(Final side rant – Don’t forget about the nearly 400 diesel tanker trucks required to bring in all that water – and the 200 diesel tanker trucks required to haul it back offsite – because some does stay buried after the initial fracturing.)
Fracking is NOT about clean energy. Not by a long shot. And they are not water conservationists, they are water killers. Water is life. Think about it.