Water Demands Are High in Texas
A 21st-century Texas variation of the old saw “whiskey’s for drinkin’, water’s for fightin’ about” might go something like this: “Gas is for gettin’ rich, water’s for fightin’ about.”
With hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, igniting a natural gas boom in Texas and elsewhere, we’re only now paying sufficient attention to the massive amounts of water the drilling process requires. With some 30 Texas communities in danger of going dry before the end of the year, it’s becoming more difficult to ignore the fact that the fracking boom, however welcome, comes at a high cost. It is a powerful drain on local water supplies.
The people of Barnhart, a tiny West Texas community near San Angelo, are certainly paying attention. Thanks to fracking’s outsized water demands, the town well has gone dry. The town’s water crisis brings to mind another old saw: “The prospect of being hanged focuses the mind wonderfully.”
In Barnhart, where a severe and lingering drought already had put a strain on the water supply, minds are focused these days, though not so wonderfully.