Monday Moaning

A Texan tragedy: ample oil, no water

Fracking boom sucks away precious water from beneath the ground, leaving cattle dead, farms bone-dry and people thirsty

Fracking boom sucks away water from underground, leaving cattle dead, farms bone-dry and people thirsty


Beverly McGuire saw the warning signs before the town well went dry: sand in the toilet bowl, the sputter of air in the tap, a pump working overtime to no effect. But it still did not prepare her for the night last month when she turned on the tap and discovered the tiny town where she had made her home for 35 years was out of water.

“The day that we ran out of water I turned on my faucet and nothing was there and at that moment I knew the whole of Barnhart was down the tubes,” she said, blinking back tears. “I went: ‘dear God help us. That was the first thought that came to mind.”

Across the south-west, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted.

Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry’s outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse.

In Texas alone, about 30 communities could run out of water by the end of the year, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Nearly 15 million people are living under some form of water rationing, barred from freely sprinkling their lawns or refilling their swimming pools. In Barnhart’s case, the well appears to have run dry because the water was being extracted for shale gas fracking.

The town — a gas station, a community hall and a taco truck – sits in the midst of the great Texan oil rush, on the eastern edge of the Permian basin.

A few years ago, it seemed like a place on the way out. Now McGuire said she can see nine oil wells from her back porch, and there are dozens of RVs parked outside town, full of oil workers.

But soon after the first frack trucks pulled up two years ago, the well on McGuire’s property ran dry.

No-one in Barnhart paid much attention at the time, and McGuire hooked up to the town’s central water supply. “Everyone just said: ‘too bad’. Well now it’s all going dry,” McGuire said.

Ranchers dumped most of their herds. Cotton farmers lost up to half their crops. The extra draw down, coupled with drought, made it impossible for local ranchers to feed and water their herds, said Buck Owens. In a good year, Owens used to run 500 cattle and up to 8,000 goats on his 7,689 leased hectares (19,000 acres). Now he’s down to a few hundred goats.

Source: The Guardian Read more and see the video

Opinion:

There’s not a lot to say really, other than fracking and shale oil are the death of an already raped planet.

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16 responses to this post.

  1. True, we know this, why doesn’t anyone else?

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  2. For new-oil finds in Texas, North Dakota and California the price of fracking for this oil may be the death of their States due to lack of water.

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    • >Alex, and I was reading this morning on BBC of David Cameron’s push for fracking in the UK, trying to convince the people it’s okay. What a bloody idiot! 8m gallons to frack one well, the UK doesn’t have this kind of water. These guys are dangerous.

      AV

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  3. Thanks for the headlines. It’s a good idea for the local community to get word of this to get people to work together to prevent this from happening.

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  4. I watched the video and can’t believe a person who still has water is willing and trying to sell it to the fracking companies. What does he think he will drink when his water is gone? We need water much more than we need oil. There needs to be a line drawn in the sand for the priorities in life/

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  5. Short-term gain is the only consideration.
    All over the world.
    No surprise.
    Me. Me. Me.
    I want.
    Now.

    Will humanity ever learn?

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