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Bakken water supply: Program allowing irrigation water for fracking ends

Infrastructure in western North Dakota is finally catching up with demand, evident in the state engineer’s office discontinuation of a program which allowed farmers to sell irrigation water for use in the oil and gas industry.

As reported by the Forum News Service (FNS), in 2011, the engineer’s office created the Industrial Water Use in Lieu of Irrigation Policy in an emergency effort to meet the industry’s demand for water. The program allowed farmers who hold water permits to pause agricultural irrigation for a season in favor of using the water for the hydraulic fracturing process.

In the early days of the boom, water distribution and availability were lacking so thousands of trucks were required to haul water long distances to well sites. The increased traffic lead to road damage and more traffic accidents. Now, however, roads have been improved and expanded, more water pipelines and depots are in place and demand is down.

Director of Water Appropriations Jon Patch told the FNS, “We’re seeing a big drop in activity. We’re not seeing the amount of truck traffic, which is what created the emergency in the first place.” Due to the slowdown, the engineer’s office decided that the program is no longer necessary.

The program will be discontinued on December 31 in all areas except two that are lacking sufficient industrial water supplies. Those two areas include the Skjermo Lake aquifer in Divide County and part of the Little Muddy aquifer in Williams County, both of which will be part of the program until September 15, 2016.

At the height of the program in 2012, the emergency policy provided the oil and gas industry with 1.34 gallons through 33 permits held by 26 users, reports the FNS. The program accounted for one of every four gallons used for fracking operations in North Dakota. To read the full article, click here.


  1. That sounds like a good thing for my truck driving water hauling friends

  2. Hopefully this will mean less piping and more trucking!…

  3. Yaaaaah buddy
    Maybe this will be a good winter for us
    Anthony Mcclain Joshua White Steve Irwin James Romberg Lyle Chip Schafer

  4. Good hopefully the trash will leave our state and we can reduce our inflation

  5. It will reduce lot of truck traffic. Says the water permit will expire Dec.31.except in to areas.goid will reduce lot of trucks and get rid of lot of trash and hopefully crime and inflation.

  6. Wow Debbie Stoppler simply wow!!!

  7. Shoulda never sold out to greed… Gonna be interesting to watch these towns struggle… The way their citizens had to, when kicked out of their homes, to make room for the Bakken oil men… What comes around… Goes around..,

  8. People who just have wow as their one word… Crack me up…so high a position of intelligence, they have no other comment… But WOW… Amazing.

    • Coz if I said what I really want to say…your little eyes would bleed for days after I got done destroying that individual is why I simply said WOW.

    • Sorry… I was just a bit angry after being attacked for an opinion previous…so much disdain and anger and lack of tolerance on here… My apologies…I just want to keep my home…

    • I understand just the whole situation here has become very uneasy and my wife and I have been here for almost 4 yrs and the uncertainty of what is going to happen has a lot on edge.

    • I understand… Our side, we were all pushed out… So we get it… Only the other way around… My best wishes for you and your family… We all have loved ones that we need to take care of…understood, prayers for you and your family.

    • And that’s even worse to be a local of the area and to be just discarded and put out and told…. sorry it’s not our problem figure it out on your own….and yo see so many empty vacated spots and the prices that are still being charged I’m just amazed.
      I’m just hoping they come to their senses before it’s too late.

  9. Answer this is the bakken an oilfield or a formation if its a formation than get it right everyone thinks it’s a oilfield so set them straight

  10. Well it’s about fracking time!

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