Quick Facts

  • Fracking does not take water away from the hydrologic cycle “forever” as some claim. Rather, the burning of natural gas generates water vapor and CO2, so that a typical well will return more water than it uses. Water that had been locked away underground for millions of years is added to the hydrologic cycle.
  • EPA’s Clean Water Rule defines navigable waters so as to regulate countless ephemeral drains, ditches, and “wetlands” that only contain water when it rains. Any development in or near these features will require a federal permit that can take years to obtain, if it’s ever issued at all.

Industry Protects Water

Water is a precious resource across the West, and we all as westerners have an interest in ensuring it is wisely used and conserved. Because the oil and natural gas industry both uses and produces water, companies carefully plan for and develop new ways to more efficiently and economically handle water in their operations.

Besides wanting to do what’s right, companies are highly motivated to conserve water because, unlike farmers and ranchers who have first-in-time water rights, they must purchase most of the water they use in drilling and completions operations. That means the oil and natural gas industry is always looking for innovative ways to reduce water consumption, increase water re-use, and improve efficiency.

To learn more about how industry protects water, visit our Water Quality and Water Quantity pages about industry's water use footprint and safeguards to preserve water quality.