Frack Water Use a Concern in South Texas

Texas Water Development Board increased its water use estimates for future decades by over 30% year over year due to consumption related to the development of the Eagle Ford Shale. Water use in the Eagle Ford Shale is a growing concern as the South Texas drought continues.  Companies are often drilling water wells that cost as much $500,000 to supply much need hydraulic fracturing fluids. The water produced from these new wells will be transferred to the landowner after the operator has completed its oil wells.

"Changes in South Texas prodded a serious modification in the report’s water-use projections. As early as last month, the Current reported that the board’s estimated water use would peak in 2031 with 32,000 acre-feet of water needed per year. However, final projections for the Eagle Ford shale region across much of South Texas have now spiked as high as 45,000 acre-feet (14.6 billion gallons) at peak production — which is now expected to hit seven years earlier, in 2024.""Industry insiders and regulators are finally starting to realize the possibility for trouble as fracking continues to siphon off more and more water each year. At a conference last week reported by the San Angelo Standard-Times, Stephan Ingram, technology manager for Halliburton, admitted, 'We use a lot of water. We need to figure out a way to utilize less of it.' Leslie Savage, chief geologist for the Texas Railroad Commission said, 'Frankly, in my opinion, it is not the well casing, it is not the hydraulic fracturing chemicals that are a problem in hydraulic fracturing. It is the use of water, particularly in drought.' ”

"And once production peaks, don’t expect an immediate decline in water use. New fields could possibly ramp up at that point, according to the Water Development Board’s report, meaning that 'water use, instead of decreasing after the peak of ~120 thousand AF would stay at that level or possibly higher for a longer period of time.' ”

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