Water scarcity challenges industries around the world. Global population growth and economic development suggest a future of increased demand, competition, and cost for limited freshwater supplies. Scarcer water, in turn, creates new challenges for energy supply because coal, oil, gas, and...
This bubble chart shows the water and energy intensity of various industries. The bubble size is proportional to revenue (2013 figures). Source: Bloomberg Terminal (accessed summer 2015).
In an article written for Huffington Post, Andrew Steer discusses how shale energy depends on water supply.
The shale gas revolution, which began nearly 10 years ago in the United States, is poised to spread across the globe. For many countries, shale gas could strengthen energy security while cutting emissions.
But unlocking this massive resource comes with a significant environmental risk: access to freshwater for drinking, agriculture, and industrial use.
Dozens of countries are deciding whether or not to develop their shale gas and tight oil resources in order to reduce emissions, create new jobs, and increase national energy supplies. However, extracting natural gas and tight oil from shale poses water risk.
We analyzed water stress levels in the 20 countries with the largest shale gas and tight oil resources, and found that 40 percent face high water stress.
This report analyzes water availability across all potentially commercial shale resources worldwide.
It also reveals that water availability could limit shale resource development on every continent except Antarctica.
Water availability could potentially limit shale resource development on six continents
Editor’s Note: Interactive map and other digital resources are available at: wri.org/water-for-shale.
This interactive atlas explores water availability across shale gas and tight oil resources.
Water stress at shale plays around the world. 20 labeled countries have the world’s largest technically recoverable shale gas resources. Circle color indicates average water stress level across a country’s shale plays—circle size indicates overall volume of recoverable shale gas resources.
Learn how securing water and shale gas could strengthen energy security while cutting emissions.