News item: The US Army Corps of Engineers is looking at allowing 30,000 acre-feet of "surplus" Missouri water be used for fracking.
1. Back in late 2011, it was estimated that approximately 6 acre-feet of water was used to frack a Bakken well.
In a more recent article the estimate was 1 million to 3.5 million gallons of water is used to frack a Bakken well (see paragraph 3 below). The conversion factor: a acre-foot = 325,851 gallons. Therefore 1 million to 3.5 million gallons converts to 3 acre-feet to 10 acre-feet.
Currently, it is estimated that about 2,000 wells will be fracked each year in the Bakken. That equates to somewhere between 6,000 acre-feet to 20,000 acre-feet of water being required to frack Bakken wells on an annual basis. Again, the USACE is looking at releasing 30,000 acre-feet of water.
2. Maximum water storage of Lake Sakakawea is 23,800,000 acre-feet. 30,000 acre-feet represents 0.1% (one-tenth of one percent) of the volume of Lake Sakakawea. [Update: in the June 6, 2013, the NDIC stated that the amount of water needed to frack wells for two years in the Bakken equated to the top one inch of surface water in Lake Sakakawea. Bakken Activity Update, June 6, 2013, a PDF file.]
3. From the third link above:
Thanks to the Bakken shale, the state has become the country's second-biggest oil-producer practically overnight. And while the world still runs on oil, with the rise of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, oil increasingly runs on water. Drillers inject 1 million to 3.5 million gallons of pressurized water into each well to shatter the rock and free the oil. More of the trucks you see are carrying water than anything else, some 400 to 800 truckloads per well.4. My arithmetic might be off.
5. And, of course, the Missouri is not static. As water is removed for fracking (or for farming for that matter) it is being replaced by additional water flowing downriver.
Bottom line: there is more than enough water for fracking in the Bakken. The US Army Corps of Engineers calls is "surplus" water and says they are considering 30,000 acre-feet to be released for fracking. At the very least, this would be enough water to frack 3,000 wells/year in the Bakken, and currently, about 2,000 wells are being fracked annually.
Lake Sakakawea is probably not the only source of water for fracking in the Bakken. Recycling of water for fracking will also decrease the amount of water required.