Texas is in the midst of what many believe is their worst drought ever; trees are dying, lawns are non-existent, drinking wells are failing, and residents are facing mandatory cutbacks on residential water use. Trinity River has the ability to supply water to many residents to ease some of the drought, but it is currently pumping four million gallons of water to Chesapeake Energy in order to frack a natural gas well.
In order to release trapped natural gas, many companies use a system called fracking, which aims high pressured jets of water at rocks. This process contaminates the water with toxins and hydrocarbons, which makes it impossible for the water to be recycled.
Many municipalities in Texas are in stage two and stage three drought conditions, which places severe water restrictions on residents. Many residents feel that if they have to comply with the water restrictions, then the drilling companies should as well. Some cities have made the decision to be proactive in this situation and are either refusing to sell water to the drillers or are charging them more for the water. Several cities are “encouraging drillers to tap into a new pipeline that would let them purchase reclaimed industrial water at reduced rates.”
Though some of the fracking fluids are now being recycled by ExxonMobile and Anadarko Petroleum is trying to cut down on the water needed for dust control by replacing dirt roads with limestone, more needs to be done. Despite the urges of the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (UTGCD) to have the drillers recycle their wastewater in these fracking processes, nothing is being done; and trees, lawns, and residents continue to pay the price.
Read more at Mother Jones.