Fracking’s water use small sliver of state total
Hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas consumed less than a tenth of a percent of water used in Colorado in 2010, a new report shows.
That amount could increase by about 4,800 acre-feet in 2015 from 13,900 acre-feet in 2010, but that still would represent just a little more than a tenth of a percent of the state total, according to the study, prepared by Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission staff with the help of the state Division of Water Resources. An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons.
The report assumes a fairly flat level of drilling activity over that timeframe, and emphasizes that projecting activity levels is difficult. It also assumes a continuing increase in horizontal drilling, in which wells are drilled down and then horizontally into formations. Such drilling requires more water than vertical or directionally drilled wells because the part of the well to be fractured is longer.
Hydraulic fracturing entails blasting formations with a mix typically consisting of water, sand and other substances to foster oil and gas flow. The oil and gas commission studied the practice’s water requirements partly in response to a recommendation from an outside review last year of its hydraulic fracturing regulations.