Fracking Water Hogs

Fracking Water Hogs by Mijin Cha, September 7, 2021, The Indypendent
As summer comes to an end, much of the country is still suffering from drought conditions. … Compounding this, the oil and gas fracking boom, especially in the Rockies, is starting to become a competitorfor water resources. Fracking requires a significant amount of water. A recent report highlighted that the amount of water currently needed for fracking operations in Colorado is up to 13 billion gallons per year, enough to serve nearly 300,000 people. For their operations, oil and gas companies pay as much as $1000 to $2000 for an acre foot of water. In contrast, farmers and ranchers pay about $30 per acre foot and can pay up to $100 when water is scarce. The large amounts paid by the oil and gas companies are often a welcome relief for cash-strapped utilities and water departments, which sets up an uncomfortable dynamic. Farmers and ranchers cannot match the price paid by oil and gas companies, which means they face an increasing risk of water shortage that will likely impede their crop and cattle production. At the same time, utilities and water departments need money and the increased price that oil and gas companies pay would help fund infrastructure upkeep and other necessary improvements. So, either farmers and ranchers (and eventually consumers) lose out on affordable water or the utilities and water departments lose out on funding. The only party that doesn’t lose out is the oil and gas companies, who are already making record profits from fracking. These kinds of lose-lose-win situations will likely only increase in number….

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