The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Video: Fracking Water Use, in Context

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 23, 2015

A new video shows the relatively tiny amount of water needed to develop U.S. energy with safe hydraulic fracturing – the chief reason (along with advanced horizontal drilling) that the United States now is the world’s No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas.

The video answers the question of how much freshwater is required to hydraulically fracture a shale well:

While 4.5 million gallons of water go into fracking a typical shale well, that’s small compared to the water used every day to keep the nation’s golf courses lush, green and growing.

According to the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, golf courses use 2,312,701 acre-feet of water a year. There are 325,851 gallons of water in an acre foot. That works out to slightly more than 2 billion gallons of water per day for golf course irrigation. The 4.5 million gallons needed to hydraulically fracture a well are just .2 percent of the daily golf course total.

The broader point made here is that scaremongering about water and hydraulic fracturing – the foundation of America’s energy revolution – is just that, often spread by people who’re not for safer and better fracking and oil and natural gas development, but for no fracking and no development at all.

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Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.