Monster Wells

Despite Drought, Hundreds of Fracking Sites Used More Than 10 Million Gallons of Water

November 18, 2014

Monster Wells: Texas Town Went Dry

When contacted by EWG, several companies responsible for drilling monster wells took pains to point out that the water they used was either recycled from other frack jobs or brackish water unsuitable for other purposes. But in the states with the most monster wells – Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado – the vast amount of water being used for fracking, and disposed of after fracking, is clearly having an impact on water supplies.

  • In Irion County, Texas, which has the most monster wells of any county in the nation, the town of Barnhart’s municipal water supply ran dry in August 2013 after hundreds of water wells were drilled to supply fracking operations. In adjacent Crockett County, local officials say fracking accounts for up to 25 percent of all water use.11
  • In April 2012, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission temporarily suspended 17 water withdrawal permits in Pennsylvania, the majority of them related to natural gas development, to protect the aquatic environment and downstream users.12
  • In Colorado, oil and gas drillers are outbidding farmers at water auctions, paying more than 10 times as much per acre-foot as growers are accustomed to paying.13 One farmer in drought-stricken eastern Colorado said, “It’s not a level playing field. I don’t think the farmer can compete with the oil and gas companies for that water.”14