Horizontal Hydraulic fracturing or fracking of shale deposits for oil and natural gas (O & G) exploration has dramatically increased in the past decade and a half in the eastern United States along Marcellus and Utica formations underlying the Appalachian basin. The fracking activities have altered the land use and impacted the environment especially the water resources. Tuscarawas Watershed comprises some counties of heavy fracking activities in Ohio.
This research presents the preliminary results of a study on the decadal changes in water quantity and quality Tuscarawas Watershed, Ohio. The impacts of fracking on water resources in a decadal period is simultaneously studied 1. with an impact index, Water Quantity & Quality IMpact InDEX (W-DoubleQ-Imdex) that is computed with the changes water quantity and quality indicators at three levels, Pressure-State-Response (PSR) that link their cause-action-effect relationships, and 2. with the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model analysis at the beginning and the end of the study period.
W-DoubleQ-Imdex is used to estimate the impact of fracking based on the water use, the brine produced, number of O & G well permits approved and number of O& G well plugged. SWAT model is employed to assess the impact of the land use change by estimating the runoff, nutrient loads, sediment load and evapotranspiration using Hydrologic Response Units (HRUs). The public domain data are used in the study so that this methodology can be applied for any watershed in the United States with easiness.
Ramanitharan Kandiah– Professor of Environmental Engineering, Central State University, Wilberforce, OH, Beavercreek, Ohio
Professor of Environmental Engineering
Central State University, Wilberforce, OH
Ramanitharan Kandiah PhD, PE, M.ASCE is a Professor of Environmental Engineering at International Center for Water Resources Management, Central State University, Wilberforce, OH. He is a co-author of the textbook, ’Introduction to Water Resources’. He holds a PhD in Civil engineering from Tulane University and a registered Professional Civil Engineer in Ohio.