Why It’s Crazy To Blame Fracking For California’s Water Problems

A visitor walks near the receding waters at Folsom Lake in California — REUTERS
Apr 03, 2015 at 2:33 PM ET

With California in full crisis mode over its water shortage, a number of media outlets jumped on the news that the oil industry in California used 70 million gallons of water to frack for oil and gas last year. The headlines bolstered environmentalists opposed to the controversial drilling practice and angered the state’s residents, who were ordered this week to reduce their water use by 25 percent.

But in the grand scheme of things, 70 million gallons is a drop in the bucket. Here’s what it amounts to:

106 Olympic-Size Swimming Pools

Each pool is 164 feet long by 82 feet wide and contains 660,000 gallons of water.

Total Water Used in 514 Households Per Year

That’s about 0.004 percent of California’s 12.8 million households. 

One Fewer Shower a Year For 10 Percent of Californians

The average American spends a little more than 8 minutes in the shower, using just over 17 gallons of water. So if about 10 percent of the state’s 39 million people took one fewer shower a year, there’s your 70 million gallons.