For tonight’s episode, we’re looking back at the station’s coverage of water in West Texas. The oil and gas industry is booming in the region – that means more use of a limited resource in the desert. Brackish water – salty water that isn’t safe for consumption – has become a vital resource for the energy sector. Companies have turned to using brackish water for fracking operations. As more Texas landowners sell groundwater for fracking, many communities are growing increasingly worried about how it will affect the aquifers that many rely on for survival.
In this episode, we delve into the intricacies of groundwater law with St. Mary’s Law School Associate Dean Amy Hardberger, hear about a contentious export permit in Culberson County, discuss the fragmented nature of groundwater conservation districts with The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment’s Andrew Sansom, take a look at the market for frack water, and finally, discuss the balance of fracking and conservation in Balmorhea with University of Texas’ hydrologist Jack Sharp.