Water Usage in Michigan's Oil and Gas Industry

Water Usage

  •  With states such as California in the grips of a large-scale drought, we are acutely aware how fortunate we are in Michigan to be surrounded by such amazing fresh water sources.
  • While Michigan is blessed with vast water resources, we have a responsibility to use them wisely. Michigan’s oil and natural gas producers recognize conservation is a priority. We also are committed to ensuring the amount of water we use is proportionate to the amount readily available, so as to protect the environment and others needs for water.
  • The Michigan oil and gas industry if often touted as a major consumer of fresh water. Recent studies have shown this is not true. Of the top five industrial consumers, there is not a single oil or gas-related company on the list.
  • At first glance the amount of water used in hydraulic fracturing, particularly in shale gas formations, may appear substantial, but it is small when compared to other water uses. Unlike other uses, water used to produce natural gas through hydraulic fracturing is a one-time use that promotes efficient energy production for the next 20 years. It’s an investment that pays off in the form of long-term, clean, reliable, and affordable energy.
  • Water usage in the Great Lakes and elsewhere in North America has dropped during the last 10-15 years, through increased efficiency in uses such as agricultural irrigation.
  • An oil or natural gas operator intending to use a large volume of water (defined as 100,000 gallons or more per day over a 30 day period) is required to use the state’s Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool to assure the water withdrawal will be safe.
  • With rare exception, most of the water used in oil and natural gas operations in Michigan comes from groundwater sources, which are plentiful and replenished naturally through rain, snow and the natural movement of groundwater. When large volumes of water are used by Michigan’s oil and natural gas producers, they must be approved by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).


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