Drought conditions and water restrictions across much of Texas have made us more aware of our water usage. People want to be assured the natural gas industry is as invested in saving water as other industries, our municipalities and neighbors.
The amount of water used per well varies, but the hydraulic fracturing process for a deep shale natural gas well can require 3 to 5 million gallons of water. That‘s significant, and operators are constantly working to bring that number down. But this volume is relatively small compared to the amount of water continually required to generate power from coal, nuclear and solar sources.
Natural gas-fueled power generation uses about 50 percent less water than coal power and 70 percent less than both nuclear and concentrated solar generation.
Also, a single fracture stimulation is typically all that’s required to create conditions for a shale gas well to flow for many years to come, and once completed water is not required on a continual basis.
A recent study by Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs concluded that because natural gas power plants use so much less water than other power plants, cultivation of shale resources would actually lead to LESS water use than the alternatives.
Increased investment in research and development has led to a significant reduction in water usage on-site through the use of new production techniques and water recycling technologies. Read more about how the natural gas industry is Finding Solutions to reduce water usage.