Drillers hoping to retrieve gas through Utica shale wells in eastern Ohio are drawing water for their operations from ponds and streams or purchasing it from public reservoirs, raising concerns about water availability.
The drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, injects millions of gallons of chemical-laced water into the earth at high pressure to free gas.
The Columbus Dispatch reports one energy company has an agreement with the city of Steubenville to take up to 700,000 gallons of water a day from a city reservoir. The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District is considering requests from a dozen companies seeking to draw water from eastern Ohio reservoirs it controls.
Environmentalists say if there's not enough water to go around, it might endanger water supplies for the public and wildlife.