We must protect our precious water supply
Ordinances needed to guard against fracking, which imposes a strain on our water supply

BY MIKE NEAS

PLACITAS RESIDENT

Why quality oil and gas ordinances ?

Start with water usage. Industry expert Kelly Tooker of New Mexico Junior College says horizontal fracturing processes use on average 4. 2 million gallons of water per well. One fracking well is water for 40 households for one year. There will not be just one well.

Water used in the fracking process is changed into toxic waste and dumped two miles deep into disposal wells, permanently removing it from the natural water cycle. There is no return-flow credit for that water ; 40 households actually return the water they use to the natural water cycle.

The New Mexico Oil Conservation Division website reports nearly 2 billion gallons of water used in fracking processes each year in New Mexico alone. They say this is only 1 percent of the total annual water usage for the state. Add that water loss up year after year. At what point should we be alarmed ?

As a New Mexico building contractor, I am familiar with the federal and state regulations that guide my industry. In addition to those regulations there are over 200 pages of Sandoval County regulations that I must follow. Anyone subdividing a tract of land in parts of Sandoval County to support 40 households would need to prove a 100-year supply of water. Shouldn't the same be true for the oil and gas industry that competes with all other users ? Water conservation must come first.

The Albuquerque Basin is water to 800, 000 users, 40 percent of all New Mexicans. There is oil and gas beneath it. The Albuquerque Basin spans several counties, including Bernalillo County. In order to protect the water for their 600, 000 residents, the Water Protection Advisory Board of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority has issued a letter of recommendation to the city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County for oil and gas ordinances. Understanding the significant threats to the basin, officials in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County are also working in this direction.

Water is our most precious resource. Oil and gas ordinances put in place rules to help ensure that industry operates responsibly.