(EnergyAsia, December 21 2011, Wednesday) — PwC has just issued a press release (http://www.pwc.com/us/en/press-releases/2011/abundance-of-shale-gas.jhtml) for a study predicting enormous economic benefits from developing America’s abundant shale gas reserves.

Predictably, and unfortunately, it does not go into detail about fracking’s equally enormous negative and troubling impact on water rights and supply. The fracking method for extracting natural gas requires the injection of toxic chemicals at high pressure into tight formations and shale buried deep in the earth.

In the US, Europe and Australia, people living near areas where fracking activities are common have been reporting for some time that the chemicals have filtered into their water sources and air. The US EPA recently released its findings on a case in Wyoming state that it had investigated, confirming that fracking chemicals were indeed found in drinking water. See https://energyasia.com/public-stories/gas-us-government-confirms-fracking-chemicals-found-in-water-aquifer.

Increasingly, it looks like humanity will have to choose between meeting its energy or water needs. The PwC researchers will have to dig deeper to find out how much water supplies will have to be sacrificed for the production of a certain amount of shale gas. Some will choose their right to water, which means these PwC predictions will likely prove overly-optimistic.

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