Across the south-west, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted.
Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry's outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse.
In Texas alone, about 30 communities could run out of water by the end of the year, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.It is important to note that fracking is not the only problem here, though it is a major one. What this story is also about is decades of sprawl and unchecked resource extraction.
Nearly 15 million people are living under some form of water rationing, barred from freely sprinkling their lawns or refilling their swimming pools. In Barnhart's case, the well appears to have run dry because the water was being extracted for shale gas fracking.
As I've bolded above, Goldenberg notes that where water is being rationed, people are barred from watering their lawns or filling pools. Yet, the lawns themselves are a significant source of the problem. At some point we were convinced that every home needed this lush, green lawn, despite the fact that the grasses were non-native and required an unreasonable amount of chemical fertilizer and water to keep alive. And, this isn't describing Barnhart, specifically, but American sprawl, generally, we've built these communities of suburban homes and McMansions with pools that are not designed for life in the desert. All of it has contributed to this current problem. Read More.....