Identifier

etd-10162013-201151

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Sciences

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Dallas, Texas is located in North Texas and sits above the eastern portion of the Barnett Shale natural gas formation. Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, was introduced to the region as a means to access previously inaccessible natural gas within the formation. This fracking concerns many because it requires large amounts of fresh water, an average of over 4 million gallons per well within Dallas Water Utilities’ service area. This thesis examines whether water use for fracking will have a negative effect on the water supply for the city of Dallas and its wholesale water customer cities. The water is typically removed from the water cycle because chemical additives required for fracking are difficult to remove and the water is often disposed of underground. Methods of recycling and treating this water are being pursued but are not currently employed at a high rate in the Barnett Shale area. Water is of special concern in this region due to drought, increasing population, and the recent discovery of Zebra Mussels in the water supply. Texas is experiencing the worst drought other than the 1950s drought of record which is reducing the available water supply, through both evaporation and lack of recharge. The population in the area is also projected to nearly double by 2060 which will lead to increased water demand. Zebra Mussels have been found in Dallas’ supply system and these mussels are impossible to remove and can clog pipes, reducing the flow of water and so potentially reducing the available supply. Future water plans are prepared to address these issues, focusing on conservation as well as increasing available supplies. Based on this analysis, hydraulic fracturing in Dallas, Texas and within Dallas Water Utilities’ wholesale customers should not significantly affect Dallas’ water supply in the near term. Other methods of conservation, such as limiting landscape watering, should be considered as more beneficial ways to save water.

Date

2013

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Wilson, Vincent L.

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