Improved Water Use Estimates for Drilling and Hydrualic Fracturing in Northeastern Colorado


The development of unconventional resources in tight shales has stimulated considerable growth of oil and gas production in Northeastern Colorado, but has led to concerns about added demands on the region’s strained water resources. Northeastern Colorado’s semi-arid environment, population growth, competing water demands and uncertainty about drilling and hydraulic fracturing water requirements have resulted in scrutiny and conflict surrounding water use for tight shales. This study collects water use data from wells in Northeastern Colorado to improve water estimates and to better understand important contributing factors. Most water resource studies use estimates for the number of future wells to predict water demands. This study shows that the number of hydraulic fracturing stages is a better measure of the future water demands for horizontal wells. Vertical wells use significantly less water than horizontal wells and will be less prevalent in the future.

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Goodwin, S. , Carlson, K. , Bai, B. , Rein, L. , Knox, K. and Douglas, C. (2013) Improved Water Use Estimates for Drilling and Hydrualic Fracturing in Northeastern Colorado. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 5, 1262-1267. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2013.512135.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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