Friday, April 03, 2015

California water restrictions should cover oil companies, activists say

One day after California Gov. Jerry Brown issues the state’s first-ever mandatory water restrictions, environmental activists are calling on officials to limit the use of water by oil companies, Reuters reported.

The executive order signed by Brown on Wednesday requires cities and towns to cut their water usage by 25 percent over the next nine months – an effort that could save up to 1.5 million acre-feet of water (the size of Lake Oroville) – but there’s nothing in the mandate regarding the oil industry, which uses some 2 million gallons of water every day during the production process.

However, environmentalists say that by leaving the oil companies outside of the mandate’s power, the state is ignoring an industry that relies heavily on water. The process of hydraulic fracturing, in particular, is especially water-intensive, as it relies in pumping highly pressurized water into the ground alongside other material in order to free up oil and gas. 

“Governor Brown is forcing ordinary Californians to shoulder the burden of the drought by cutting their personal water use while giving the oil industry a continuing license to break the law and poison our water,” said Zack Malitz of environmental group Credo said to Reuters.
“Fracking and toxic injection wells may not be the largest uses of water in California, but they are undoubtedly some of the stupidest.”
In addition to depleting water resources, there has been concern over the waste disposal methods used by fracking companies, which deposit the waste into deep wells underground. In March, California halted drilling at 12 wastewater injection sites due to the possibility that the toxic water could seep into drinking aquifers, though officials maintain there’s no evidence to suggest drinking water has been contaminated.......................

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