Texas Senator Troy Fraser focuses on the energy industry’s water use

According to the Texas Energy Report, Senate Natural Resources Committee Chairman Troy Fraser, called the energy industry a bit too “thirsty” during a record one-year drought, and warned the oil and gas companies to ramp up the recycling of water consumed during hydraulic fracturing.

Currently much of the chemical-laced water and sand that Texas companies blast into shale formations to release oil and gas is later pumped back underground for disposal.

“It’s going to be an issue next session. I continue to tell the industry they’ve got to get aggressive about water reuse,” Fraser, a Republican from Horseshoe Bay in the Central Texas Highland Lakes region, said during a joint interim hearing on drought held by the Natural Resources and the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees.

“In a drought situation, it’s starting to be a problem, a big problem in some areas,” Fraser added of the millions of gallons of water used in fracking. “I’ve been projecting for multiple months that this is coming and we’ve got a crisis out there.”

When asked about the water recovery program and how much water is being recovered from fracking, the industry representative responded that he did not have a specific number of how many companies recycle frack water but added that TXOGA has requested data from its members. He noted that while some companies do have significant recovery operations, others do not.

“Significant,”said Fraser. “That implies a lot.”  But the numbers from the industry were not there to back that implication up.

Fraser said he’d like to see more efficient water reclamation by cities, manufacturers and refiners as well, but he also took aim at the electric power industry.

“Long-term the power industry is going to hear me talking about figuring out a way to convert and get that technology,” he said. “We can’t continue to use the amount of water that we’ve used in the past. The way we are treating our water right now is not sustainable.”

John Fainter, president of the Association of Electric Companies of Texas, said everyone in the state needs to learn more and do more about conserving and saving and reusing water, but he added a threat of his own.  “There is a cost, and the public needs to be aware of that, just like the environmental requirements we’re facing,” he said.

Click here to watch the hearing.