A lot has been said about the toxic slurry of fracking fluids and its impact on water quality, but what about the millions of gallons of water that’s sucked up by the drilling process and its impact on water quantity?
A new study highlights how the five million gallons of freshwater used to fracture just one gas well in the U.S.—or more than enough to fill seven Olympic-size swimming pools—has depleted water levels in up to 51 percent of streams in Arkansas, as Motherboard reported from the research.
The paper, published in the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science & Technology, also finds that high-volume, short duration water withdrawals used for fracking fluids creates water stress to aquatic organisms in Fayetteville Shale streams. These streams—which also supply drinking water to thousands of people in the region—are home to 10 aquatic species that are declining at a concerning rate, according to a release on the study.
Depending on the time of year, freshwater usage for fracking could potentially affect aquatic organisms in 7 to 51 percent of the catchments, the research team found. Even if 100 percent of the fracking wastewater were recycled, between 3 to 45 percent […]