A new study on fracking in the Eagle Ford concludes that not enough attention is being paid by the oil companies or by regulators on recycling the large amounts of water that is being used in the fracking process, or on where that water comes from and whether it is depleting local water supplies.
In fact, University of Texas researcher J.P. Nicot told 1200 WOAI's Michael Board that something that may slow down the torrid pace of oil and gas drilling in the Eagle Ford is a lack of water.
He says 92% of water that is used in the fracking process is not recycled.
"3% would be brackish water, and 5% would be water from a previous frack job," he says of the water that is recycled.
He concluded that the fracking industry is making little or no effort to recycle the massive amounts of water is takes from a historically arid part of the state.
Fracking consists of mixing water, sand, and chemicals to bombard shale rock formations deep underground, to fracture, or 'frack' then open to release the billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas that is believed to be trapped inside the formations.
Recycling is not occurring, Nicot said, even in the face of the state's ongoing drought.
"Some companies have tried to do the right thing and recycle, but that is far more expensive than simply injecting the throwback water into disposal wells," he said.
Fracking companies use various sources for the water they use in the process. Some truck in water, others use aquifer water, while still others use specially built ponds to obtain water.
Some fracking firms are experimenting with other substances instead of water, even compressed air, to fracture the shale formations. This could mitigate the impact of potential new regulations to preserve water on the fracking industry.