Fracking Fuels Water Fights in Nation's Dry Spots

Jun 17, 2013

Credit State Impact-Oklahoma

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The latest domestic energy boom is sweeping through some of the nation's driest pockets, drawing millions of gallons of water to unlock oil and gas reserves.

Hydraulic fracturing, or the drilling technique commonly known as fracking, has been used since the 1990s to blast huge volumes of water, fine sand and chemicals into the ground to crack open shale formations.

But now, as energy companies vie to exploit vast reserves, fracking's new frontier is expanding to the same lands where crops have shriveled and waterways have dried up due to severe drought.

In Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming, the vast majority of the counties where fracking is occurring are also suffering from drought, according to an Associated Press analysis of fracking data and official government drought designations.