Public Perceptions and Hydraulic Fracturing, Drew Nelson

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Public Perceptions and Hydraulic Fracturing, Drew Nelson

  1. 1. Unconventional Natural Gas Drilling and Water Demand in Texas Texas Groundwater Summit 8/29/12Drew NelsonClean Energy Project ManagerEnvironmental Defense Fund
  2. 2. The Gas Boom Has Clear Advantages… • Economic development • Increased energy security • Less air pollution • Fewer greenhouse gases than coal…If done the “right way”.
  3. 3. …and Potential Risks • Ground and surface-water contamination; • Significant amount of water usage; • Air emissions can threaten public health; • Cumulative impacts from truck traffic, noise, lights, etc; • Increased greenhouse gas emissions. …If not done correctly.Lack of public trust due to risks could erode economic andsocial benefits. It is in everybody’s interest to get it right.
  4. 4. Defining the TX Water Demand Problem• Texas has a water deficit that is projected to worsen.• Hydraulic fracturing (HF) remains a small part of overall water use in TX, but still used ≈40,000 AF in 2011.• Equivalent to 5 days worth of water use for every Texan.• For 7 of the 16 RWPGs in 2011, HF water equivalent to >70% of estimated unmet water needs (demand>supply after all management strategies included in water plan).• Currently, most HF water removed from local H2O cycle.According to data prepared for the TWDB report, Water for Texas: http://www.twdb.state.tx.us/publications/state_water_plan/2012/2012_SWP.pdfEPA estimate of 100 gallons/day/person of average water usage: http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/pubs/indoor.html.
  5. 5. Collision Between Drought and Drilling 51% of water used for hydraulic fracturing in 2011 is from 10 counties. Spring: Culberson Winter: Dec. 20, 2011 Mar. 20, 2011 Wise Dimmit Reeves Pecos La Salle Jack Denton Summer: Almost Fall: Harrison Jun. 19, 2012 August 21, 2012 AtascosaSources: U.S. Drought Monitor Archives http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/archive.htmlE.P.A Indoor water use in the U.S. http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/pubs/indoor.htmlNicot, J. P., Hebel, A. K., Ritter, S. M., Walden, S., Baier, R., Galusky, P., Beach, J., et al. (2011). Currentand Projected Water Use in the Texas Mining and Oil and Gas Industry. Austin, Texas.
  6. 6. What it Often Means to the Public • Many people react emotionally to water issues, particularly in drought. Why does drilling get water when my cows can’t? • Public perception is that hydraulic fracturing causes water pollution and uses too much water, making water the largest hurdle to public license to drill. • Until industry identifies ways to minimize water use, public perception likely won’t change.
  7. 7. What Can be Done? • Increased use of brackish/non- potable water for HF. • Increased water recycling. • More and better data on water consumption and sources/type of water used. • Finding other uses for produced and flow-back water instead of injection. • Increased data collection and aquifer modeling. • Education/Transparency.

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