dry lakebed
Patrick Emerson

One of fracking’s few but feverishly touted upsides is that the natural-gas boom it’s spurred could help America move toward energy independence; it’s a crucial piece of Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. But in building up our fuel supply, fracking threatens our supply of another crucial natural resource – water.

A new report from nonprofit Ceres (which maintains a neutral position on fracking in general) reveals that nearly half of the country’s fracking wells are located in water-stressed regions — in particular Texas and Colorado, where 92 percent of fracking wells are in extremely high-water-stress regions. Ceres compiled its report using data from the World Resources Institute — which considers an area extremely water-stressed if 80 percent of its available water supply is already allocated for municipal, industrial, and agricultural uses — and FracFocus.org, a voluntary national registry of fracking wells’ locations and water usage.