Friday, April 11, 2014

Water And Fracking In North Dakota -- Way More Than Necessary; One Day's Release Of Water From Lake Sakakawea Is Enough To Frack All Bakken Wells Drilled This Year


Missouri River gage level, Williston: link here


July 6, 2015: data points from The Dickinson Press with regard to present water requirements for fracking in the Bakken:
  • water from water depot sales for fracking peaked in 2014 at 30,000 acre-feet (rounded)
  • trend in 2015, dropping back to 2013 levels of 20,000 acre-feet sold (rounded)
  • one acre-foot = 325,851 gallons
  • Fargo: about 12 million gallons / day
  • water for oil and gas drilling amounts to about 10% of all industrial water use in the state
Again, for newbies: water is not an issue for fracking in North Dakota.
Original Post

From a post dated May 25, 2013:
So, how much water is being released from the Garrison Dam today? Dynamic link here.

The answer: 20,000 cubic feet/second. [2018: summer release, 30,000 cubic feet/second; winter release, 20,000 cubic feet/second; link here]

A cubic foot of water: 7 gallons.

So, in one second: 140,000 gallons of water released from the Garrison Dam today
In one minute: 8 million gallons of water released from the Garrison Dam today
In one hour: 500 million gallons of water released from the Garrison Dam today

Less then 4 million gallons of water are used to frack a well, but let's keep it simple:
500 million gallons / 5 million gallons = 100 wells

If I did the arithmetic correctly, enough water is released from the Garrison Dam each hour to frack 100 wells.

2,000 wells will be fracked this year. Less than a day's worth of discharge from the Garrison Dam should be enough water to frack all the wells that will be fracked in the North Dakota Bakken this year.

I apologize ahead of time if my calculations are incorrect; I will correct them if necessary.
Today, April 11, 2014, The Bismarck Tribune updates the status of the spring run-off:
The corps’ April 1 runoff forecast was for 32 million acre-feet of water to enter the system through July.
He said average runoff is about 26 million acre-feet. An acre-foot of water is roughly the size of a football field covered with a foot of water.
The planned releases, and modeling:
Jody Farhat, water management chief for the corps, said plans are to step up releases through Garrison Dam from the current 18,000 cubic feet per second to 24,000 cfs by April 15 and 25,000 cfs by the end of the month.
Farhat said May average releases should be around 27,000 cfs and 30,000 cfs for June.
She said that would mean a 2-3 foot increase in the level of the Missouri River through Bismarck and Mandan.
Wade Bachmeier of the Morton Count Water Resource Board, said increased releases should begin sooner to avoid any concerns. “Why wouldn’t we exercise some prudence?” he asked.
Farhat said based on the corps’ models, Lake Sakakawea will rise to an elevation of 1,839 feet under its lower model, 1,847.9 feet under its basic model and to 1,852 feet under its upper model.
Sakakawea is now at an elevation of about 1,836 feet.
Back to the calculations.

A cubic foot = 7 gallons.

30,000 cubic feet / second = 210,000 gallons/second to be released.

 500 million gallons of water will frack 100 wells.

 2,000 wells would require 20 x 500 = 10,000 million gallons of water.

10,000 million gallons / 200,000 gallons (per second) = 50,000 seconds.

50,000 seconds = 833 minutes = 14 hours.

Less than a day's worth of water released from the lake is enough to frack 2,000 Bakken wells.