Water is a major but controversial resource for the Thracking industry, which is currently flourishing in the United States and is preparing to conquer the world. Despite widespread publicity on the subject, many things remain poorly understood by lawmakers, businesses and others interested in the fast-growing industry.

 

A number of countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East are still addressing the question: Is shale energy commercially viable? At the same time, the consumption of water, as well as the risks of pollution, are and will continue to be major concerns that would not only threaten the environment but also the development of the technology itself. Although the physical and economic needs of water vary from country to country, many lessons can certainly be learned from US shale energy experience.

 

The main problems are two.

 

First: Consumption of large amounts of water for the purpose of the drilling process. (this includes injecting millions of tonnes of drinking water, along with sand and chemicals, into shale wells)

 

Second: The potential risk of surface and groundwater contamination as a result of accidents, spills and poorly organized residues.

 

In the US, legislators and the scientific community are in a position of a "race game" with the large-scale, rapid development of the industry and understanding of the cumulative environmental impact. Even when enhanced US measures succeed, there is still a water problem, especially in states like Texas and Colorado, where land is significant and more and more people are competing for less and less water. In places with marked water shortages, such as China, Algeria and South Africa, the same problem is currently facing. However, South Africa is rapidly moving to legalize and issue licenses for the use of the Karoo Desert Region, which still has limited groundwater.

 

Legislators in countries where the Fracking debate is taking place should ask the following questions:

1. How much water will be consumed?

2. Where will this water come from?

3. How much of this water could potentially be recycled?

4. How will the water cost of the industry affect local hydrology?

5. How exactly will waste products be treated?

 

Companies and supporters who cannot answer these questions are likely to encounter a "wall" of tightened regulations for water use or even a ban on extraction.

 

Waste products are another important point. Drilling as well as extracting gas produces a huge amount of polluted water. In the United States, wastewater is poured into huge water treatment wells, heirs to wastewater from the mining and oil industries. However, this option no longer seems so reliable, as recent research has shown a link between the dumping of huge amounts of water in wells and earthquakes. While much of the public focuses on groundwater pollution problems, the problem of surface water loss still remains.

 

Globally, surface water resources are exploited beyond their capacity. Often, wrong measurements and forecasts are made. Numerous studies show that surface water levels around the world are significantly diminishing and that restoration would take decades, even centuries, in places. Fracking can accelerate the reduction of surface water resources, as we already see in the US. A recent CERES survey shows that the 36% of the Thracian industry in the United States is occurring in regions with a significant drop in surface water after years of over-exploitation. 

 

The local effect of the use of water resources must also be taken into account. The process uses water from specific small settlements in the states where it is mined. Often the amount of water used for Thrace exceeds significantly the amount used by the local people combined.

 

Regardless of which part of the world is negotiating for Thrace, all questions are important to consider and to answer. Water is an invaluable resource that we have indiscriminately exploited for many years to meet our industrial needs. However, water is a natural, slowly renewable resource. It must be used and kept consciously.

For more information on this topic, I recommend the 1 and 2 Gazland films, which can be found here:

Gasland 1 / Gasland (2010)

Gasland 2 / Gasland Part II (2013)

Ð ~ Ð · Ñ, Ð ¾ Ñ ‡ Ð ½ Ð ¸ Ð º:
Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Stress: Water Demand by the Numbers.
www.theguardian.com

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