A new University of Texas at Austin study has found that the amount of water used in the drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing has risen sharply in recent years as oil and natural gas production has surged.
But the 97-page study, funded by the Texas Oil and Gas Association, also found that the amount of water used in hydraulic fracturing would level off sometime in the decade starting in 2020, as water recycling technologies matured and the industry's rapid growth rate cooled.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a water-intensive practice in which liquids are pumped underground at high pressure to retrieve oil or gas trapped in rocks, like shale.
The Texas Water Development Board circulated the study last week to regional water planning groups around the state. Those groups are preparing the state’s next water plan, due out in 2017.