Water Availability Questions Create Worries About Fracking

Water availability in the hottest areas of the Eagle Ford will become an even greater concern if the drought continues. Water used in drilling and completing wells pulls on local water sources and decreases supply. Without aquifers being recharged, there will be areas that begin feel the effects of greater water use. That won't make for happy farmers.  The article mentions "fracking" and "frack sites" several times. The proximity of a well location or completion isn't the drain on the aquifers, it is the water wells that are pulling water up to the surface. Yes, there are millions of gallons used in fracking, but that water can be sourced from other places if the situation gets too bad. The real question will be how do economics change and can operators drill at the same pace if water is limited.

Two fracking sites are less than a half-mile west of Hedtke's front porch off Farm-to-Market Road 1144 near Farm-to-Market Road 99. Three others are located within sight of his favorite shade tree out back. Another is planned, he said, less than a quarter mile from his back door.

Water is in high demand throughout Karnes County, an area already ravaged by the state's worst drought in 50 years.

Twelve-inch, aboveground waterlines crisscross the county, pieced together in 20-foot sections. Signs advertise freshwater sources and well digging services needed to sustain the various fracking sites that, on average, require between 4 and 6 million gallons.

The Eagle Ford Shale formation is so dense that only a mixture of water, sand and a variety of chemicals applied at high pressure, can loosen the shale's grip long enough to free the trapped oil and gas.