October 06, 2011
By Mike Lee
An intensifying drought in Texas is prompting limits on water consumption that for the first time target oil and natural gas producers.
Local water districts, which have authority to allocate water from subterranean aquifers, are adding a water-intensive production method called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to some of the pumping restrictions they’re imposing on farmers and small towns.
The city of Grand Prairie in the Barnett Shale in North Texas in August became the first municipality to ban the use of city water for fracking. Water officials for the Ogallala Aquifer in part of the Permian Basin included fracking when they approved the district’s first-ever restrictions on water use in July.
Even before the drought, water was a sensitive issue for gas producers, who now use fracking to develop about 85 percent of the wells drilled in Texas, according to state regulators..continued.......