I have always wondered just how much water is being removed as a “Waste By Product” of the Coal Bed Methane Gas Well drilling in Las Animas County and from a recent article from the Trinidad Times Independent it was mentioned in the article that they are extracting 16,000 acre feet of water yearly from the Raton Basin in Las Animas County. At least that is how I understood it. Check the article to see if this is how you understand it too.
Well 16,000 acre feet of water doesn’t sound like much does it? I wish they would put this in terms that we might understand better. So lets do some math shall we….
An acre-foot of water is a term used in measuring the volume of water. It is equal to the quantity of water required to cover one acre of land one foot deep, hence one acre foot of water. They say that it is 43,560 cubic feet of water. Still doesn’t really give us an idea of how much water this is in terms that most of us would understand. So lets go a bit further.
Answers.com says that one acre foot of water is equal toÂ approximately 325,851.42 U.S. gallons.
We need to take this one step further and multiply 325,851.42 gallons by 16,000 to find out just how much water is being taken from the ground in Las Animas County and that is a figure that you can understand. From my calculations it is 5213622720 gallons…..that is 5,213,622,720 gallons. Or in other words that is 5 billion 213 million 622 thousand 720 gallons of water that is taken from the ground that is considered a Waste By Product by the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission.
I wonder if this will affect our ground water supply for our Water Wells? The Gas Industry that is making a fortune from the Methane Gas says that it doesn’t.
Las Animas County officials, as you will read in the article mentioned above, when before the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission concerned about the economic concerns if the Coal Bed Methane Industry is regulated in ways that would protect us more but nothing was said about how we will get ground water when its all disposed of as a waste by product. Sorry I just can’t wrap my head around our precious water being labeled a “waste by product”!
On the other hand Las Animas County has been requesting drought aid from the Federal Government. Go Figure! But its okay to remove 5 billion gallons of water from Las Animas County.
It is a fact that when our ground water is gone Las Animas County has no plan that will replace it nor do they have an approved source of water to supply us water. The water that supplies Trinidad their water belongs to the City of Trinidad not to Las Animas County Residents.
Funny thing is that the Colorado Division of Water Resources turns their head to the removal of the ground water removed by the Gas Industry but if your water well goes dry from the CBM development then they regulate where you can get your water and it has to be from a water source that is a registered approved commercial well and Las Animas County do not have or own any water wells.
Seems that the Officials in Las Animas County are only seeing dollars signs and are not looking ahead to protect the residents of Las Animas County. So just who is looking out for us? Please tell me who.