Friday, May 22, 2009

More on Water Issues in North LA

I've been thinking a lot about the water issues facing North Louisiana with the high level of water use by operators drilling Haynesville Shale wells. Water is a key component in the process of fracing the well. Right now, most companies drill water wells to tap into one of the several aquifers that run below most of the Haynesville Play. One, the inconsistent Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, has become so strained that operators have been asked by local officials not to use it. But as demand increases and the aquifers become even more stretched, water is going to be one of the big external issues facing the Haynesville Shale in North Louisiana.

While local officials can't specifically prohibit operators from drilling for water, the operators understand it is in their best interest to come up with a workable solution that keeps costs down for them but doesn't disingratiate them with the local communities. One of the possible solutions is the Red River Alluvial Watershed, which is fed by the Red River. Unfortunately, it is narrow and only runs along the course of the Red River. Pumping from surface sources has been used where available by most users. Local officials are studying pumping from Red River and other large bodies of water.

I recently posted an article in the Shreveport Times about some of the bills floating around in the state Legislature about control of state water resources (the link expired, but here is a copy from the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association). In looking back, I've found a couple of other interesting articles from a few months ago that are of interest. Both are from the Shreveport Times but are reprinted on the LOGA web site:
There is no easy answer to this question. Issues of water resources have been plaguing this country for centuries. Heck, it even makes good cinema. Remember that the drama in Chinatown was wrapped around the question of water rights and the devaluation of land by depriving it of water. While the issues in North LA might not be quite as treacherous or interesting, it will be an important subject going forward.

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