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Lone Star state puts limits on water use in hydrofracking in response to drought

Facing one of the worst droughts in its history, many local communities in Texas are setting limits on how much water can be used for natural gas hydrofracking.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports:

Local water districts, which have authority to allocate water from subterranean aquifers, are adding a water-intensive production method called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to some of the pumping restrictions they’re imposing on farmers and small towns.

The city of Grand Prairie in the Barnett Shale in North Texas in August became the first municipality to ban the use of city water for fracking. Water officials for the Ogallala Aquifer in part of the Permian Basin included fracking when they approved the district’s first-ever restrictions on water use in July.

Even before the drought, water was a sensitive issue for gas producers, who now use fracking to develop about 85 percent of the wells drilled in Texas, according to state regulators.

“The rumblings have definitely started in the last six months,” said Chris Faulkner, chief executive officer of Breitling Oil and Gas Corp., a closely held producer in Irving, Texas. “It used to be, ‘Are you going to contaminate my water;’ now the concern is, ‘You’re going to use up all my water.’”

A single fracking well typically uses millions of gallons of water, much of which is so highly contaminated that it must be disposed of in deep injection wells.

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