Long: Fracking threatens Colorado’s precarious water supply
Ryan Summerlin December 18, 2013
Kerri Rougemont’s recent letter to editor argues jobs created and money made from the fracking industry in our state will more than make up for the negative consequences like water shortages and the cancerous chemicals emitted into our ground. The only problem would be, where will all these well off, fully employed Coloradans live when there is no water to survive off of?
Currently the state’s water usage is roughly as follows: 86% towards agriculture, 7% municipal/domestic, 3% recreation/fisheries, 2% industrial/commercial, 1% augmentation, 1% recharge. The oil and gas companies currently use > .1% of the state’s water for fracking alone. The COGCC has estimated that usage to increase 16% in the next 3 years. This increase in fracking’s water usage would have devastating effects on our farmers and ranchers, not to mention general residents of the state. Any detriment to our water supply would cause huge monetary loss for our state as agriculture is one of our main economic activities.
Regardless of water shortages, ground water has been impacted by fracking in our state. As companies are not required to list the ingredients of the fracking fluids they pump, the EPA and the COGCC will never be able to classify an issue as a “ground water contamination” because they are unable to directly prove the company actually used the chemicals found contaminating the ground after drilling or a spill. However a quick search through the COGCC’s database came up 3 spills that impacted the ground water in the month of December alone. Despite pro-fracking advocate’s best rhetoric, Colorado’s ground water has been and will continue to be impacted by the chemicals we are regularly putting into the ground. And when clean ground water ceases to exist, so will Colorado’s human population.
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