Water is an essential resource that every human being or living organism requires for the use in their body or structural system. The main source of water is the highlands and mountains, hills and underground reservoirs. The process of drilling water for human the use is different, depending on the community, cultural activity, level of technology, topography of the land and among other related factors. One of the general way or procedure to get underground water or access to fresh water is through drilling of wells that act as a collection point. However, as people advanced in the technology and introduction of the latest machinery in drilling of water, there was a discovery of other expensive and precious minerals and elements. There has been an argument that fracturing consumes much water and creates a problem of the shortage for drinking water. The paper discusses the effects or impacts of hydraulic fracturing to the natural drinking water.
There are many elements and minerals beneath the surface that also help in making the life of human being more comfortable. The minerals include shale gases, iron, diamond, gold, coal, petroleum and many more underground elements. All these elements require good handling and extraction to make sure there is heavy collection from the well or the unit where they were discovered. There have been many ways to extract gases, oils and other related mineral elements from the earth surface, and the process changes day by day as the new information and findings are made. One of the latest technological advancement is the hydraulic fracturing practised by the developed countries and nations that have advanced drilling companies.
Hydraulic fracturing is a process of extracting minerals, like gas and petroleum products, from the ground. In this process, there is the use of high technique in wells to make sure that the large amount of shale gas and oils deposits accumulates in one well or the central point of collection. Hydraulic fracturing comprises of activities where fluids mixed with chemicals are pumped in a high pressure into the well. The fluids help to stimulate and weaken grounds and rocks around or surrounding the well so that gas and oil deposits flow easily into the well for easy collection. The chemicals are effective in the way they weaken and fracture the core of the earth/ground to allow easy accumulation of gas deposits and oils.
In the past years, an increase in requirements and demand for fuels and associated gases factors has been identified in many states. The human activities tend to call for an increase in the resources as fuels and gases propel and help in meeting human wants. Everyone is a witness that gas and oils are daily supplements of life and should be taken in a serious way to make sure that the life remains without discouragements. Gas is essential for cooking, breathing in medical and other air deficiency areas and many other important uses. The need for shale gases gives pressure to the drilling companies to think beyond the box to ensure a steady and complete supply of gases to human beings. Thus, many companies employ the technology of hydraulic fracture to accumulate gases in one well in a faster way.
Hydraulic fracturing is a delicate way to use in the underground because it does not target specific oils and gas deposits, but the entire core. During the process, the earth crust is weakened as a way to from fractures that lead the gases and oils to the well. In return, the earth and its resources are destroyed and water mixes with high violent chemicals and is harmful to human and other living organisms. The process destroys water catchment areas and main underground streams important in transporting the pure and healthy water into different wells or reservoirs. The destruction of water sources and catchment areas contributes to the contamination of water and leads to the consumption of risk water either by animals or people.
The statistics show that in the last few years, there has been an increase in levels of gas and oils collections that signify advance in the creation of energy and power. However, the statistics also reveals that there is a risk of losing water deposits and catchment areas in the future that can lead to the lack or deficit of drinking water. Whereas the process of hydraulic fracturing continues to influence the production of energy from the ground and ecological surface, the risk of drinking continues to increase in a significant way. The chemicals used to stimulate or accelerate the flow back of gases are not healthy and good for the consumption by either human beings or animals. The flow back of required elements like gases and oils also consists of water, and they are collected together with the water around that well. Thus, the extraction of gases through hydraulic fracturing increases the risk of destroying and mixing of water with poisonous chemicals.
Hydraulic fracturing is unfriendly to the environment because it weakens the soils, sand and the main rock. The weakening of the rocks contributes to the soil erosion and, in return, there is a decrease in nutrients and other essential elements or factors in the soil. The weakened rocks fail to support roots of trees and other plants that help to protect the water catchments areas and sources. Trees and other plantations protect and reduce the evaporation of water from the underground to make sure that streams and rivers remain with enough water for drinking. The introduction of hydraulic fracturing has led to the pollution and contamination of drinking waters in the sense that water is disposed off as waste by the mining companies.
The use of fractures and cracks to extract gases, coals and oils poses a threat to the wildlife, because the earth eventually gets weak to the extent that it can be a disaster if an earthquake happens, whereas landslides are experienced. Weakened rocks do not have the strength to support heavy trees and atmospheric pressure, and this can lead to massive landslides causing much destruction. The pollution and contamination of water poses a risk to animals and uninformed community that might access water through their wells and drink being unaware of the chemicals. The earth crust is connected and underground streams are in many occasions linked to the mainstream. If any water from a stream of underground drinking water is contaminated, in a wide area and a large amount of water is polluted. Therefore, it means that the fractures left or created while hydraulic fracturing drilling can be a way of mixing healthy drinking water with chemical and related poisonous products.
The United States has experienced and witnessed an increase in the energy creation and exploitation. The increase is a positive sign or signal, which means that in the near future, there will be no economic energy crisis because of the abundant of gases and oils. Hydraulic fracturing has contributed extensively to heavy extracting of shale gases, coals and other important elements necessary for creating energy and power. The citizens will enjoy the massive extraction in many ways, because it is always cheaper to access and buy the energy products from local markets and producers than importing from foreign countries. An increase in the production of energy is a positive achievement of the hydraulic fracturing, because it helps in easing of the human lifestyle. The country expects to double the collection of gases in the coming future for a period not exceeding 20 years. The expectation is a future plan to make sure that the United States does not import all class of gases, but rather exports if a need arises.
There have been questions from the environment conservation agencies and organizations concerning the advantage of hydraulic fracturing. Many people believe that the hydraulic process is more of destructive than constructive. The impact of stimulating rocks in many areas and regions is seen as an environmental hazard that can cause bad impacts on the national resources and significant or strategic water tables. The water table in many locations or geographical locations is at equal depth as to those of mining points and oils’ wells. The water table is the surface beneath the earth or ground, where fresh water or water bodies rests. When drilling wells for drinking water, the minimum depth where one can find water is the water table, and it differs in depth depending on the area or sediment rocks. Therefore, the fracturing softens the rock increasing the depth of the water table; and in many times, water is collected together with the gases and oils and deposited as waste.
There is also another problem that is related to fracturing of rocks and sand. Initially, hydraulic fracturing was meant for unconventional rocks that are not easy to drill and do not allow an easy flow of gas coal and oils. The formula was used to soften the rocks and make it easy for gas to flow from their deposits to the well or the bore. However, as the competition and demand for the gases, coals and oils increased, the extraction companies introduced the horizontal and hydraulic fracturing. The process and techniques are effective and efficient, and they act as a catalyst to the gases and oils, hence increasing the flow back. The flow back is a process, where the pumped chemicals into the crust or rock returns back to the well together with the targeted element. Thus, the soft rocks or the conventional and permeable sands were also subjected to fracturing activities. Fracturing chemicals are corrosive and volatile and, therefore, erode the sands and other soft rocks causing soil slides and erosion.
Lakes are the important source of drinking water to many residents and citizens in the United States and other countries across the world. Lakes form the water bodies for many domestic and industrial uses, since it is fresh and natural. The water table of lakes is within the earth or ground surface, and it is easy to draw water for refining and using in agriculture, household, hospitals, schools and other national places. Fracturing of rocks affects the base of the crust and the lake is not an exception. The impact of hydraulic fracturing destroys the water table by causing cracks that make water dissolve and flow to the wells. The impacts are negative for the lakes and water catchment, because they can fractures even cause the drying of lakes. Lakes are also sources of rivers and other seasonal rivers and streams. The streams and rivers provide drinking water to people, and it can be a substantial disadvantage to people, who depend on the lakes, streams and rivers. Hydraulic fracturing is not favorable to lake basins, because they cause reduction of the water level and drying of lakes through cracks and fractures.
Many people rely on rivers and streams to get drinking water and in order to use it in other domestic and industrial activities. The lives of many people are put at risk if rivers and streams dry or if they are contaminated by chemicals and poisonous products. The cost of cleaning and purifying water is high, and many resources are wasted. There is a question of how the contaminated water in the earth or ground surface can be purified. Companies responsible for fracturing and spoiling water do not take full responsibility of their actions. At times, they just collect or harvest the contaminated water as waste, and the water can be purified to be useful for the human use. Streams and rivers depend on mountains, hills, rocks, lakes and other large bodies to get water to keep flowing. If rivers dry, then the human activities will be affected similar to their lives getting complicated because they compete to get water with the fracturing companies.
Although hydraulic fracturing is an economical way of extracting minerals, the impacts are not all positive to the human nature. In the year 2006, there was an estimation of around 3600 fractured wells in the United States. The wells account for about 50-80 gallons billion of water that is supposed to be used by people for drinking and other industrial uses. The problem of these wells used in fracturing processes is that it uses much water, and this causes the lack of water and rationing in many cities. The average consumption of water in fracturing wells is around 2.2 –5.3 billion gallons in two to three cities. The amount of water is significant, because it is about 3% of the drinking water used per year. Therefore, the process of hydraulic fracturing is causing scores of inconveniences to people by the reduction of water to use and drink. The advantage of hydraulic fracturing is good and helpful to generate power and energy to people of America.
The introduction of hydraulic fracturing into the extraction process is an economic improvement, because it reduces costs. The gases and other fluids flow towards the wells, and it is cheaper than drilling different wells across a section of a given area. However, the process has negative results for people because it consumes a large volume of water. The process also destroys the environment because of the crust slides and fractures in the underground. The environment protection agency advocates for measures to make sure that underground wells do not wear the surface. The fractures also may cause many absorptions of water from lakes, underground streams and other water sources. The effects are affecting lives of people, who require water to carry out commercial and domestic activities.
Susan Moor, writer and a blogger at https://qualitycustomessays.com