Fracking has a big water footprint

The answer, according to a new study published in  Environmental Science & Technology Letters  by Duke University scientists, is: All of the above. The fracking required to free up the oil and gas trapped in tight shale formations is a water intensive process, yet the overall water footprint for shale drilling is smaller than other industrial uses, including conventional oil and gas production.

The paper sheds new light on the intense scrutiny fracking has received for its water consumption in these dry times. And both sides of the debate have used the study's seemingly contradictory takeaways to bolster their arguments. Industry PR outlets, like Energy In Depth, have emphasized the “less than 1 percent” finding, saying it proves that fracking is water efficient. Environmentalists, meanwhile, have pointed to the guzzling of 250 billion gallons per year. Source: