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Report: Fracking to Strain Colorado Water Supplies

KUNC file photo

A new report by a Boulder-based environmental group warns that the controversial drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing will put a significant strain on the future water supply of the northern Front Range. 

In its new report, “Fracking Our Future,” the group Western Resource Advocates found that the process is currently using between 20,000 and 42,000 acre feet of water a year - with much of that occurring in and around Weld County.  

For perspective, according to the group, 20-40 thousand acre feet is similar to the amount of water consumed in a year in a city the size of Fort Collins. 

"In dry years like this one, and overtime as our populations grow, fracking water use will compete with municipal use," said Laura Belanger, the report's author.

Some cities in booming Weld County have been leasing their excess water to fracking companies; a move that’s generated hundreds of thousands in revenue in some areas. 

The oil and gas industry has noted that fracking still accounts for a sliver of the state’s overall industrial water use.

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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