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Sunday, December 23,2012

Is fracking really the best use for a limited resource like water?

To the Editor:

Whose water are they using anyway?

This past year much of the Midwest experienced significant drought conditions which we are still seeing the effects from. This should have served as a wake-up call to all of us who depend on an adequate supply of fresh water for us to live as we do in today's world.  We take for granted that when we turn on our taps, do laundry, wash our hands, shower, do dishes,  flush the john,  water the garden, buy food at the market, that there will be an adequate supply of water to supply our needs.

Fortunately for us in Ohio, the drought was not as significant as in some other midwestern states so we should consider ourselves blessed. However, by allowing the oil and gas industry, with the approval of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, to proceed  with deep shale drilling and resource extraction, we are showing our ignorance and lack of concern for protecting and maintaining an abundant  supply of available fresh water. It is quite evident from recent court rulings as well as the number of pending cases on water ownership, withdrawal rates and other water related issues, that fresh water supplies are being viewed as a valuable commodity requiring monitoring and regulating.

According to recent articles printed in the Columbus Dispatch the drilling and hydraulic fracturing process requires approximately 5 million gallons of fresh water per well in the drilling and production process. The article went on to say that all the wells (161) planned to be drilled in Carroll county alone  would require 805 million gallons of water. To put this in perspective so one can grasp how much this would be, it would take 1.2 times the volume of water in Lake Snowden when it is at its normal full pool level. The article went on to say that the number of wells presently proposed to be drilled in Ohio (2,250) by the year 2015  would require approximately 16 Lake Snowdens  full of water.

What sense does it make  to remove these volumes of  our valuable fresh water from the water cycle, mix it with sand and chemicals, pump it into the earth, and if it comes up again, pump it back into the earth as a waste product? So next summer when the lakes and ponds are down, and the streams and rivers are slowing, where do you want the tanker trucks to pull up and start extracting  5 million gallons of water for the nearest oil and gas well?

Robert Rhyan


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Water facts from the ODNR

Ohio receives 30 trillion gallons of precipitation in a typical year, or about 82 billion gallons per day on average. 

In 2010, Ohio used about 8.6 billion gallons per day on average from surface and ground water sources. 

That means we only use about 1% of the available water.  Does it make sense to use an additional 0.006% to extract clean burning natural gas to improve the economy, decrease unemployment, reduce dependance on foriegn energy, and reduce home heating bills for people who are really struggling right now?  I would say definitely YES. 





Think about this.

And not all that precipitation is captured.

If we are so dependant, why do we ship so much of our production of coal and gas elsewhere?