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oil well drilling and rural water wells

2023-06-18

Ever since the oil boom began, oil wells have clashed with water wells in parts of the countryside. Historic water-drilling practices have been replaced with the surge in demand for oil and gas, turning it into a competitive fight between the two industries for the precious resource of water.

A startling amount of water is routinely employed in the oil industry. According to one study, an average oil well will employ a staggering 4.5 million gallons (17 million liters) of water in its lifetime for activities such as cooling down the drill bit, expelling rock cuttings, and transporting fracking fluid deep into the bedrock in order to create fractures and liberate petroleum from underground deposits.

The oil industry often resorts to taking water from ground sources in order to engage in drilling and fracking. This poses a considerable burden on local water availability, particularly in areas of low precipitation, as fracking consumes a significant proportion of the total water used in the vicinity. Consequently, water shortages result, creating tension between the oil industry and others who require the water for their livelihoods, like farmers and ranchers.

In the countryside, wells tend to be shallow, making them more susceptible to being contaminated from the additives and substances used in their drilling and fracking. Such contamination can have far-reaching effects, leading to sickness in those that come into contact with it and garnering harmful health outcomes for those exposed over extended periods of time.

Water requirements for the oil industry continue to climb, likely to exacerbate shortages in rural regions. However, major providers are doing all they can to recycle or reuse the water consumed, and are striving to reduce their consumption of fresh water.



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