Water, the new “GOLD!”
The quest for water resources is an ongoing project that the DFW metroplex has been on for a while. We all know how close in distance Dallas and Ft.Worth are situated. But sometimes, 30 miles might as well as be 3000 miles for some folks. So it was interesting to read recently how new water playmates, Dallas and Ft. Worth did not get what they wanted. Both have been trying to get some of that valuable Oklahoma water. Since there is an abundance of water just sitting north of the Red River and many less folks to use it, DFW decided they wanted some of that “liquid gold” as well.
But US District Judge Joe Heaton ruled a very loud, “NO” as an answer to their request (FWST, Norman Transcript). DFW is stunned. Who is this guy to tell them “NO”? So the mystery continues. Maybe the judge heard from Oklahoma that it just might be a good idea to hold onto what they got. Call it a “rainy day” stash of the new “liquid gold”. So you ask, “what does this have to do with gas drilling?” It has everything to do with gas drilling.
Each well site can have as few as 5 wells or as many as 15 wells. In order to get the gas, you need water and lots of it. Each gas well has to have 5 million gallons of water. Let’s do the math. 5 million gallons of water x 5 wells = 25 million gallons of water. Now where do you think XTO Energy and Trinity East Energy, LLC are going to get this water? Good question. You might want to know that gas drilling site application #1 sits next to Mountain Creek Lake. Now that lake for the record is currently listed as TOXIC. The US Navy has yet to clean it up as part of their move out from the naval base. We can talk about the land and the lake at another time. Gas drilling site application #2 sits next to a branch of the Trinity and get ready, Joe Pool Lake. Let’s allow that to “soak” into your brain for a while.
The water is mixed with sand and chemicals(close to 600 chemicals that have not been officially named by the gas industry) in order to drill. Most of the water stays underground and sometimes leaches into water tables, water wells, soaking the earth underneath. A portion of the water comes up from the well. This is called “flow back”. Some have estimated that the flow back could be 0.5% I not a math whiz but I will guess that it could come out to 25,000 gallons of contaminated water. That contaminated flow back water is captured and taken away via trucks to open water pits where it is allowed to evaporate. So how do you feel about contaminated water being allowed to evaporate into your air? It’s happening now, all around us. Are you ready for Dallas to be a part of that? These are the first of many questions that have to be answered by the City of Dallas and the gas industry who wants to come into our city and drill, baby drill.
Just think about going forward, as our climate continues to surprise us with unexpected weather patterns (it was 104 yesterday and seemingly forever), water resources are one day available, one day not available (hello, Weatherford, Texas?) Are we ready to take a chance on compromised water resources? Are you ready to see signs that say,”Don’t drink the water”?
Has it soaked in yet?