Conserving Water - For What?

Conservation is wisely managing a natural resource to prevent depletion or degradation. That’s why Erath County has the Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation District and why people in our area are fighting pollution hazards such as waste injection wells. But we all know by now that the oil and gas industry is only interested in getting the minerals out of the ground, wherever and however possible. That includes using millions and millions of gallons of fresh water for “frac jobs”. Millions.

A report from the Texas Water Development Board studied the potential effects of Barnett Shale gas development on area groundwater resources. This report estimates that by the year 2015 gas drilling will make up 23% of all the water usage in Erath County. It shows water wells used by gas drillers will use three times as much as “rural domestic” wells. That’s just about everyone in the county not on city water. Most of citizens of our county who wish to drill a water well have to comply with the water district rules of spacing and limits based on acreage. Water wells used by oil and gas are not required to follow those rules. That 23% is also in addition to all irrigation, livestock, and municipal/manufacturing usage. We’re talking an awful lot of water.

We should all be very concerned that as we strive to conserve and preserve our water resources for ourselves and for future generations, that actually we’ll only be saving our groundwater so the gas industry can steal it out from under us and turn it into toxic waste. With one process they will deplete and degrade vast amounts of that precious resource.

It’s hard to imagine, but 2015 is only 8 years away. Now is the time to call or write your state representatives to express your concern. If you have a gas lease or plan to negotiate one, insist whatever water wells are drilled on your property are put in the landowner’s name and are properly qualified and registered by the MTGCD. We all need to band together to achieve change. We must find a way to save our water for our children, not for the gas drillers.

Elaine Smith

Worried about Water in Erath and

Comanche counties