How much is 10 million gallons of water?

We’ve seen that modern hydraulic fracturing permanently poisons over 10 million gallons of water per well drilled — it’s a staggeringly large number that is hard to grasp. Here are some comparisons to give you a better idea of “how much” is in 10 million gallons of water.

500 standard swimming pools.
A standard swimming pool holds around 20,000 gallons of water.

6,250,000 toilet flushes.
A typical toilet flush uses 1.6 gallons of water.

138 Colorado homes’ use of water for an entire year.
The EPA estimates each American uses 82 gallons of water a day at home, for a total of 29,200 gallons per year. The average Colorado household size is 2.6 people per family.

9.64 square miles of lawn covered with 1″ of water.
You could cover 6,171 acres, or 9.64 square miles of lawn with 1 inch of water.

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Water usage for Hydraulic Fracturing in Broomfield, Colorado

This visualization shows the amount of water used to frac each of the wells drilled within the municipal boundaries of Broomfield, Colorado since 2017. The data is grouped by operator, with the most recently fracked wells shown first. In total, 848.76 million gallons of water have been used to frac these wells, with a median of 12.57 million gallons of water used to frac each of the 67 wells.

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Water Usage for Hydraulic Fracturing in Erie, Colorado

This visualization shows the amount of water used to frac each of the wells drilled within the municipal boundaries of Erie, Colorado since 2017. The data is grouped by operator, with the most recently fracked wells shown first. In total, 626.48 million gallons of water have been used to frac these wells, with a median of 9.64 million gallons of water used to frac each of the 57 wells.

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How much water does fracking use, Part VI

In Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V of this series, we showed that each hydraulic fractured well permanently poisons millions of gallons of water.

Once again, the Erie community is under assault with the 26-well proposed Draco pad and an additional 18 wells proposed to be drilled at the Coyote Trails pad. Let’s look at the data for the Cosslett East wells, completed in September 2023.

A total of 178,725,812 gallons of water were used to drill these wells, with a median of 13,261,197 gallons per well. This is 18.4% less than the median water use for the original Cosslett wells, but without completion information for these wells (the data is not yet available at the ECMC), it’s not obvious why. For reference, here is a visual representation of the two sets of directional wellbores:

A comparison of the directional wellbores for Cosslett (left) and Cosslett East (right).

Once the completion data for the Cosslett East wells becomes available, we’ll update this analysis.

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How much water does fracking use, Part V

In Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV of this series, we showed that each hydraulic fractured well permanently poisons millions of gallons of water.

Now that Occidental is fracking the wells at Mae J and Papa Jo / Shumaker, there’s a renewed interest in the amount of water used by hydraulic fracturing, so let’s take a look at the 12 wells drilled at the Cosslett pad by Crestone Peak Resources.

By using more water than any other pad we’ve examined in this series, it’s once again worth saying out loud:

Crestone Peak Resources has used one hundred seventy-five million, five hundred thirty-four thousand, six hundred and seventy-four gallons of water to frack the twelve wells at Cosslett.

A total of 175,534,674 gallons of water, with a median of 16,252,811 gallons per well. It sounds like we’ll expect Occidental to use a similar quantity of water to drill the 12 wells at Mae J.

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How much water does fracking use, Part IV

In Part I, Part II, and Part III of this series, we showed that each hydraulic fractured well permanently poisons millions of gallons of water.

Now that the data for the drilling at Broomfield’s Interchange B pad has become available from FracFocus, a quick calculation shows Extraction Oil & Gas has used 81,837,881 gallons of water to frack the 10 wells at the Interchange B pad.

Once again, let’s say it out loud:

Extraction Oil & Gas has used eighty-one million, eight hundred thirty-seven thousand, eight hundred eighty-one gallons of water to frack the ten wells at Interchange B.

Extrapolating to the remaining 74 wells to be drilled, we’re expecting Extraction to use just over 600 million gallons of water on this project. Note the difference between the water used for the C wells in the Codell formation versus the N wells in the Niobrara formation.

We’ll keep you posted of the water usage as Extraction progresses with their comprehensive drilling plan.

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How much water does fracking use, Part III

In Part I and Part II, we showed that each hydraulic fractured well permanently poisons millions of gallons of water. This week a new Duke University study was released, claiming “the amount of water used per well for hydraulic fracturing surged by up to 770 percent between 2011 and 2016 in all major U.S. shale gas and oil production regions.”

Since it has been a while since we’ve gathered this data from FracFocus, a quick calculation shows Extraction Oil & Gas has used 102,044,434 gallons of water to frack the 10 wells at the Coyote Trails pad just east of Erie, Colorado in unincorporated Weld County.

Once again, let’s say it out loud:

Extraction Oil & Gas has used one hundred two million, forty-four thousand, four hundred and thirty four gallons of water to frack the ten wells at Coyote Trails.

Keep in mind that these 10 wells are just the beginning; 4 Form 2s have already been approved and another 24 are pending for this location.

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How much water does fracking use, Part II

In Part I, we showed how Crestone Peak Resources had used 160,349,639 gallons of water to frack the 13 wells at the Waste Connections and Pratt sites. Sadly, it gets worse. Between the Morgan Hills, Woolley-Becky, and Woolley-Sosa sites, Crestone Peak Resources used 225,137,194 gallons of water to frack 22 wells.

So all together now:

Crestone Peak Resources has used three hundred eighty-five million, four hundred eighty-six thousand, eight hundred thirty-three gallons of water to drill 35 wells on five pads in Erie, Colorado.

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How much water does fracking use?

Recently, we stumbled upon FracFocus, an additional resource linked from the COGCC complaint site. FracFocus allows the public to view “Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Product Component Information Disclosure” documents that include some summary information for each well, as well as a detailed chemical composition of the fluids injected at each well head. We ran the numbers for Waste Connections and Pratt, and came up with a single catastrophic statistic: 160,349,639 gallons of water.

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