Fracking Uses 16% of Eagle Ford Water

Water Usage Increases in Eagle Ford
Water Usage Increases in Eagle Ford

Researchers from the University of Austin say that water usage in the Eagle Ford has expanded exponentially over the last five years thanks to fracking.

Related: Eagle Ford Shale Water Use and Concerns

The study, conducted by Bridget Scanlon, Robert Reedy and Jean Philippe Nicot,  originated from concerns about potential water constraints that might limit oil and gas production using hydraulic fracturing in shale plays, particularly in semiarid regions and during droughts.

Fracking relies on massive amounts of water to break the shale rock to extract oil or gas. Scientis tracked Eagle Ford water usage for hydraulic fracturing between 2009 and 2013 and found that the 18 billion gallons used represent ~ 16% of the total water consumption in the area for 2012.

The study concluded that the regional impact is relatively small, saying “The comprehensive analysis of Eagle Ford water issues and comparison with other semiarid plays indicates that, with proper management, water should not constrain hydraulic fracking in these semiarid regions.”

The biggest area of concern noted in the study is that the Carrizo Wilcox Aquifer in the western part of the Eagle Ford has been declining for decades due to agricultural pumping in the area. Researchers go on to advise that producers should consider using brackish water as a way to avoid clashing with agricultural interests.

Related: South Texas Water Supply Sufficient

Read the full text of the UT study here.

Eagle Ford Disposal Wells Becoming More Common

Eagle Ford Disposal Well Map
Eagle Ford Disposal Well Map

Oil & gas operators in the state of Texas are disposing of 75 times more waste water than they were in 2005. Growth in disposal volumes is the result of expanded use of hydraulic fracturing and growing water production from oil & gas wells. The state of Texas is producing more oil than it has in 20+ years. Since many of those wells produce associated water, that means more water. Production from the Eagle Ford is adding to the need for growing disposal options.

We run about 30 to 40 trucks a day, 24-7,” Sartin said. “Depending on how the oil fracking is going out there, if they’re hustling and bustling, then we’re hustling and bustling.

There are more than 8,000 disposal wells in the state of Texas and a little more than 10% of those are commercial operations. Add 25,000 other producing wells that accept waste fluids to improve recoveries of oil & gas and you begin to picture just how much water can be disposed of. Based on previous years, I estimate approximately 4 billion barrels of water was disposed of in 2012.

Four billion barrels sounds like a lot, but in 2010 the Texas Water Development Board estimates more than 118 billion barrels of water were used for irrigation purposes alone.

If subject of water in the Eagle Ford is new to you, read more about oil and gas water issues previous articles here:

See a full interactive map at

New Oil & Gas Water Recycling Rules - TX RRC

The Railroad Commission has adopted new rules to encourage Texas operators to continue their efforts at conserving water used in the hydraulic fracturing process for oil and gas wells. They have essentially relaxed rules to make it easier for operators to recycle water onsite. Major changes adopted to the Commission’s water recycling rules include eliminating the need for a recycling permit if operators are recycling fluid on their own leases or transferring their fluids to another operator’s lease for recycling. The changes adopted by the Commission today also clearly identify recycling permit application requirements and reflect existing standard field conditions for recycling permits.

By removing regulatory hurdles, these new amendments will help foster the recycling efforts by oil and gas operators who continue to examine ways to reduce freshwater use when hydraulically fracturing well.
— Chairman Barry Smitherman

Commissioner David Porter said, “Water use has been a major concern examined by my Eagle Ford Shale Task Force, and I commend our staff for working to streamline our rules to encourage more recycling.”

Commissioner Christi Craddick said, “Just as our operators have used technology to bring us into this modern day boom of oil production, they are also using technology to reduce their fresh water use. The changes adopted today will assist in those efforts.”

Water shortages in Texas in the past 5 years has brought the spotlight on new oil and gas production methods, in particular hydraulic fracturing. Even though this technique is reported to only use about 1% of water usage in the state, it is an important resource that industries are compelled to manage properly for a more responsible energy future. In doing so, a new ruling by the Texas Railroad Commission removes the regulatory hurdle from recycling frac water– bringing big promise to the future of water recycling in the region. "We see this change as an opportunity to accelerate deployment of our water recycling technologies in Texas.", said Peter Pappas, VP at Bosque Systems.

The rule amendment also establishes five categories of commercial recycling permits to reflect industry practices in the field:

  • On-lease Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
  • Off-lease or Centralized Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
  • Stationary Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
  • Off-lease Commercial Recycling of Fluid
  • Stationary Commercial Recycling of Fluid

The changes to the rule also establish a tiered approach for the reuse of treated fluid, including both authorized reuse of treated fluids in oil and gas operations and provisions for reusing the fluid for other non-oilfield related uses.

New Water Management Solutions Decrease Oil & Gas Impact - Press Release

Bosque Systems
Bosque Systems

Water is an essential component for oil and natural gas production during both the drilling and hydraulic fracturing processes.  Most of the water used comes from surface water sources such as area lakes, ponds, rivers and municipal supplies. Historically, the water used in drilling and hydraulic fracturing has been a one-time use.  With recent droughts, oil and natural gas operators have been seeking alternative sources of water to be used in aiding their production to minimize their ecological impacts.

Typical Oil & Gas Well Water Usage

Having mobile water treatment units allows us to integrate with the frac crew and move seamlessly from job to job”, explains Peter Pappas. “We have treated millions of barrels of both fresh and produced water. Our cost-effective solution has better efficacy than traditional biocides, and is an environmentally friendly solution.

In order to frac a well, operators use 500,000 to 1,000,000 gallons of water for each stage, and a well may need up to 20 stages. With local regulations being reinforced and public concerns, water is now thought as the most critical resource operators utilize when producing oil and gas in all regions. Until recently, produced water, which includes water produced during the initial flowback process, was an undesirable and costly byproduct of oil and gas production. It is also one of the "continually produced" substances during the oil and gas production that poses environmental risks. With Bosque System's technology, operators can now re-use the produced and flowback water for hydraulic fracturing operation, thus reducing the amount of fresh water and in some cases, water trucked to the producing zone.

Water recycling is an important topic because of the increase in oil and gas production in North America coupled with fresh water shortages. Bosque Systems has contracts with major operators across oil and gas plays to treat their water for re-use in the hydraulic fracturing process.

Multiple Solutions Needed To Tackle Water Treatment

Bosque Systems has patents or patents pending on several technologies. One technology employed by Bosque Systems, according to Robert Mitchell, is a mobile water recycling unit, which precipitates solids in the water and extracts them. He said Bosque has mobile units dedicated to different regions of the country, including the Permian Basin, the Mid-Continent, the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, and the Bakken Shale in North Dakota.

“Being a service provider, we believe safety and results are the two most important components for our customers. As such, we continually test and monitor the quality of the water we treat in order to report and validate our results to operators”, Peter Pappas added. “We are a full solution provider.”

Recognizing the needs early on for water management within the new types of oil and gas production methods, Bosque Systems is well ahead of its competition.
— Clane LaCrosse, CEO and president of Bosque Systems.

Headquartered in Fort Worth, TX, Bosque Systems, LLC has seen this challenge for many years and developed technologies to reduce the impact of operators on water resources. The company is involved in working with operators to provide customized water management solutions.

Bosque Systems is a solutions-based company that specializes in designing complex turnkey solutions to solve operators' water management needs from inception to completion, with expert project management teams able to design, engineer, and provide support for oil and gas operators’ water challenges. Our solutions include water treatment, saltwater disposal, gathering systems and specialized custom solutions designed to meet specific customer requirements. “Bosque enjoys multiple advantages as compared to competitors. We do not push one technology in particular but rather design solutions around each customer’s location, water quality and economic needs”, said Peter Pappas, vice president of growth and business development.

“Water from fracturing operations is exposed to millions of naturally occurring microbial contaminants which can cause souring; corrosion; plugging in pipelines and injection wells, pumps, and filters; and emulsion problems”, said Robert Mitchell, director of technology for Bosque Systems. “Partnering with oil and gas operators, Bosque has identified a need for an environmentally safe, effective and cost-efficient solution for treating water being used for hydraulic fracturing”, he continued.

About Bosque Systems, LLC

Bosque Systems, LLC provides full water management services to oil and natural gas operators. We are a solutions-based company that specializes in designing complex turnkey solutions to solve operators' water management needs from inception to completion, with expert project management teams able to design, engineer, and provide support for oil and gas operators’ water challenges. Our solutions include water treatment, saltwater disposal, gathering systems and specialized custom solutions designed to meet specific customer requirements.

For media contact or more information: Marc Bellanger

The article above was published through’s press release distribution service. Learn more about Eagle Ford Advertising Here.

Recycling Waste Water is Big Business

About one-third of the water used to complete a well flows back when the well is brought to production.  The rest is produced throughout the life of the well. Recycling waste water is a shift for the industry.  Historically, waste water was disposed of through treatment plants, injection wells, and evaporation ponds.

Recycling Waste Water Answers Many Concerns

As the volume of water used in hydraulic fracturing has grown, operators have explored alternate solutions. The popularity of recycling water is growing as operators look for a cheaper solution to drilling deep injection wells, as they look for more environmentally friendly options, and as they combat concerns of scarce water.

You can read more at our Eagle Ford Water page and this article that details a few companies offering new solutions.