Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Use in the Barnett Shale

Air & Water Quality

Posted on: Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Do you ever wonder how much water is used to drill and hydraulically fracture natural gas wells in the Barnett Shale? Well, the answer may surprise you because it is, in fact, very little. To answer the question, we asked the largest provider of water in the Barnett Shale area, the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD). 

TRWD is one of the largest raw water supplies in Texas, supplying water to more than 1.7 million people in an 11-county area. They provide water to 30 wholesale customers, including the cities of Fort Worth, Arlington and Mansfield, as well as the Trinity River Authority.

So, how much water did TRWD provide to oil and gas drilling operations in previous years? TRWD reported that the water that they provided, as a percentage of the total water they sold, was just 0.96 percent in 2009, even less at 0.66 percent in 2010, and just 0.54 percent in 2011. Contrary to popular beliefs, hydraulic fracturing does not use a lot of water. As these numbers show, it uses very little water indeed. In addition to being a clean and abundant fuel, natural gas is also an efficient user of water.