WOODVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Wilkinson County officials are looking at using water from a popular fishing lake near the Louisiana line to provide water for oilfield fracking in southwest Mississippi.
The Enterprise-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1FSAGAX) that county administrator Bruce Lewis told a group this past week that the water pipeline would run from Lake Mary — also known as Old River Lake — through Wilkinson and Amite counties.
It would supply water to hydraulic fracturing operations in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale oil formation in southwest Mississippi.
The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale formation is located in southwest Mississippi and central Louisiana. Experts have said the formation could hold 7 billion barrels of oil.
Lewis said it takes 6 million to 11 million gallons of water to frack a well, the availability of water is potentially a limiting factor.
“We don’t want any limiting factors,” Lewis said.
Lewis said oil companies would pay for the infrastructure and then buy the water from the management district.
Lewis said an average of 3.8 million barrels of water a day — or 160 million gallons — enters the lake from tributaries like Buffalo and Old Homochitto rivers, and that’s not to mention seasonal flooding from the Mississippi River that replenishes the 10-mile-long oxbow.
A planned addition to the lake’s new spillway will add 16 inches to the normal water level as well, he said.
“We’ve got more water here than they could ever use,” Lewis said.
Lewis, whose family owns much land and leases many camps along the lake, said he doesn’t believe using the water will have any effect on fishing or recreation.
“We lease 60 camps on Lake Mary and we don’t want that affected,” he said.
Lewis said oil companies could still buy pond water from local landowners.
Lewis said the project has the support of the oil companies.
Information from: Enterprise-Journal, http://www.enterprise-journal.com