The High Five
7:44 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Is Fracking Drilling Into Our Water Supply?

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Experts say fracking holds millions of gallons of water hostage, an interactive map tracks public benefits county by county, a dog with viral popularity takes the field at Rangers Ballpark and more.

A new report warns that hydraulic fracturing is stressing and will continue to stress the North Texas water supply. The report by Ceres examines fracking, the method used to extract once untouchable reservoirs of both oil and natural gas, and points specifically to the drought-strapped suburbs of Fort Worth. Even in states like Texas, the overall amount of water used for fracking isn’t substantial; it’s about 1 percent of overall consumption. The problem is the intensity of water use.

The report’s author, Monika Freyman, says for a short period of time -- usually just a couple of days -- fracking requires a huge volume of water. That can range from 1 to 5 million gallons. “You have to look at a county-by-county scale to capture the intense and short-term impact on water supplies,” Freyman says. “They need an intense amount of water for a few days, and that’s it.” Water that comes back out of the well can be re-used, but it returns from below the surface tainted with chemicals, sand and natural pollutants so it must be treated first, which is expensive. [New York Times]

  • Food Stamps By Neighborhood: Ever wonder how your community stacks up when it comes to government assistance? In terms of food stamps, Dallas County is slightly above the national average. Slate has created an interactive map with a county-by-county breakdown of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. You can se how many people receive SNAP and how much money they’re getting each year. In Dallas County, 16 percent of the population is enrolled in the program and each person receives about $800 per year. The national average is 15 percent. Some Texas counties have SNAP enrollment that exceeds 40 percent. But Collin and Denton Counties are far below average, at 4 and 5 percent respectively.
  • A Grand Goodbye: Country music legend and beloved son of Texas, George Jones, will be memorialized today at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House. Not surprisingly, the roster of funeral speakers shines with stars and luminaries. Former first lady Laura Bush will give tribute, as will Bob Scheiffer and Kenny Chesney. Music by Charlie Daniels, Tanya Tucker and Kid Rock will also be featured. Fans worldwide can watch the service live online here. Want to learn more about the mysterious man behind the legend? Check out RJ Smith’s post for NPR’s The Record.
  • Mutt On The Mound: It sounds crazy, and maybe it is, but a famous internet dog with a TV movie on his résumé will “throw out” the first pitch at tonight’s Rangers game. We have no inside information on what “throw” means in the canine world, but we’re anxious to find out. “Norman the Scooter Dog,” who doesn’t just scooter but bikes and skateboards, will be the ceremonial host for Bark in the Park. Dogs will pack the stands as the Rangers take on the White Sox, but if you didn’t already register your four-legged friend, you’re out of luck. No walk-ups will be accepted, no matter how hard they wag. Check out Norman’s internet follies below. [WFAA]

  • Something To Cheer About: Do you bleed blue and silver? Do you secretly practice your fan kicks when you’re home alone? Ladies, if that sounds like you, you’ve got one last chance for a little prep work before the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader tryouts crank up this weekend. As long as you’re over 18, live in DFW and have reliable transportation, you’re eligible to audition. There are two final prep classes tomorrow night and the real show starts Saturday. You can read all about auditions here.
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