Our city of Austin has seen a much wetter summer than many of us expected. That being said, drought and water use continue to be major issues across the country. The USGS recently released a study on water use in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” across the US. The study was conducted in order to better understand where and to what extent water is being used in this industry.
The study found that the average amount of water required for fracking a well varied significantly across the United States, starting at 2,600 gallons and going all the way up to 9.7 million gallons required per well. Findings also gave the researchers a better understanding of what action causes the amount of water per well to vary so much: the study indicates that horizontal wells generally require significantly more water in the fracking process than vertical or directional wells. With the increase in the number of horizontal wells in recent years, the amount of water consumed during fracking is also increasing. The results of this study may help scientists understand and mitigate the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing.
To learn more about the report, view the summary and abstract here.