Fracking Drought Hits Texas

Texas' record drought has been withering the state's agriculture and livestock for months. It's now taking a toll on the state's energy industry as well.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking for short, is widely touted as the key to unlocking vast reserves of oil and natural gas trapped in underground shale formations. The problem is that the “hydro” is in short supply.

Peter Zeihan is an analyst with Austin-based private intelligence firm Stratfor.

“This is a very water intensive process. You don’t get a particularly high percentage of the water back even if you’re being very conservative with its use. This has really delayed developments in, for example, the Eagle Ford Shale.”

Fracking a single well in south Texas’ Eagle Ford shale takes up to thirteen million gallons of water, due to the formation’s unusual geology. But even the more forgiving Barnett Shale near Fort Worth demands at least three million gallons for each new well.

Eagle Ford Shale


Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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