Water use by natural gas drillers in the Susquehanna River Basin peaked at about 3.8 billion gallons in 2011, declining to about 3.1 billion gallons in 2013, Andrew J. Gavin, deputy executive director of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, told the Associated Press.
That’s less than 10 percent of the some 34 billion gallons of water the electric power industry (mostly nuclear and coal) drew in the basin during 2011, according to the SRBC. The data is based on required SRBC drilling permits.
There has been “a huge increase” in frack water recycling but it’s still a concern, Gavin says, because water withdrawn from small mountain streams or during a drought has a larger ecological impact than withdrawals from large rivers.
Fracking companies may encounter intense competition for water, as 38 percent of the world’s shale resources are either under extremely high water stress or facing arid conditions, according to a report by the World Resources Institute published last month.