How much water a well drinks…

The article from the Fargo Forum was striking to me, having worked on a drilling rig in North Dakota at the height of the Boom (over 200 rigs in the state at the time).

ND Rig Count Falling…

The article began: ‘North Dakota has fewer than 60 drilling rigs operating in the state for the first time since 2009.’

I found this information striking because I haven’t been in the boom region of North Dakota for close to 2 1/2 years since we moved to Kansas City so my mind is still wrapped around the place I left in 2013 – a region in BOOM!

One thing that has always concerned me is the amount of fresh water used to frack and maintain a well. Water that once used is no longer fit for human consumption or to grow crops.

Wastewater – now billions upon billions of gallons (perhaps trillions) of wastewater injected downhole into mother earth. National Geographic wrote a great article about the Salty North Dakota wells and how much water they consume.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: ND’s Salty Fracked Wells…

The article above, states that a North Dakota frack job uses, on average, ‘2 million gallons per well’ and ‘drink[s] down an average of more than 600 gallons of maintenance water daily’.

Furthermore, ‘over the life of the well, which authorities presume will be 30 to 40 years, maintenance water needs could add up to 6.6 million to 8.8 million gallons.’

For the sake of math, I’ll average out the water need to 7.7 million gallons over the maintenance life of the well.

So, 7.7 million gallons of maintenance water + 2 million gallons of frack water = 9.7 million gallons of water (9,700,000). Take into account, this is not recycled gray water or frack water. This is each well and over nine and a half million gallons of fresh water pumped in from OUR water table or trucked in from another fresh water source. I still find this fact so outrageously wasteful.

Another interesting part of the Forum article said this, ‘At the end of October, the state had 975 wells that were drilled but waiting on hydraulic fracturing crews as companies prefer to keep the oil in the ground until prices recover.’

Wow! 975 wells! Let’s do the math.

975 wells X 2 million gallons of fresh water to frack the wells = 1,950,000,000

Nearly 2 BILLION gallons of fresh water wasted. Now to maintain those wells.

975 X 7.7 million gallons of fresh water = 7,507,500,000

7,507,500,000 + 1,950,000,000 = 9,457,500,000

Nearly 10 BILLION gallons of fresh water.

What is going on under the beautiful earth of my home state?

Stacked rigs are seen along with other idled oil drilling equipment at a depot in Dickinson, North Dakota June 26, 2015. Since November, the Saudi Arabian-led OPEC cartel has held to a policy of unconstrained output, an approach many suspect is designed to flood global markets with more crude, push prices lower and punish rivals, including North Dakota, the second-largest U.S. oil producer. Picture taken June 26, 2015.  REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

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