Estimates of Water Use Associated with Continuous Oil and Gas Development in the Williston Basin, North Dakota and Montana, 2007–17

Scientific Investigations Report 2020-5012
Water Availability and Use Science Program
By: , and 

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Abstract

This study of water use associated with development of continuous oil and gas resources in the Williston Basin is intended to provide a preliminary model-based analysis of water use in major regions of production of continuous oil and gas resources in the United States. Direct, indirect, and ancillary water use associated with development of continuous oil and gas resources in the Williston Basin was estimated in North Dakota and Montana from 2007 to 2017. Water-use data were aggregated by county and year, which were the sampling units used in this analysis. Linear and quantile regression models of water use in relation to the number of oil and gas wells developed were fit for the direct, indirect, and ancillary water-use categories for each State. A 95-percent confidence interval for each parameter estimate from the linear regression models was computed as a measure of uncertainty. Additional information on uncertainty can be gained from modeling other distribution parameters, so quantile regression models of the 5th, 50th, and 95th percentiles also were fit. To assess uncertainty in the estimates from the regression models of direct, indirect, and ancillary water use, leave-one-out cross-validation was used. Model performance was evaluated with three goodness-of-fit metrics used to compare the estimates and observations of water use.

Mean annual direct and indirect water use for development of continuous oil and gas resources in North Dakota was estimated at 4,512 million gallons (Mgal) per year (Mgal/yr), with a 95-percent confidence interval of 4,021–5,152 Mgal/yr, and in Montana was estimated at 196 Mgal/yr, with a 95-percent confidence interval of 189–203 Mgal/yr. Ancillary water use (for domestic and public supply) had an estimated annual mean of 2,753 Mgal/yr in North Dakota and 396 Mgal/yr in Montana. The coefficient from the linear regression model of direct water use was 3.86 Mgal per well and hydraulic fracturing water use was 3.70 Mgal per well for North Dakota. The mean estimate of direct water use had a 95-percent confidence interval of 3.48–4.23 Mgal per well. For North Dakota, the coefficient from the linear regression model of indirect water use was 0.453 Mgal per well, with a 95-percent confidence interval of 0.415–0.492 Mgal per well. Direct and indirect water use had a mean estimate of about 4.31 Mgal per well in North Dakota. The mean estimate of ancillary water use (for domestic and public supply) in North Dakota was 2.03 Mgal per well, with a 95-percent confidence interval of 1.76–2.31 Mgal per well. For Montana, the linear regression model of hydraulic fracturing water use had a mean estimate of 2.04 Mgal per well. The 95-percent confidence interval for the mean estimate was 1.80–2.28 Mgal per well. Direct and indirect water use in Montana had a mean estimate of 2.49 Mgal per well. The mean estimate of ancillary water use (for domestic and public supply) in Montana was 2.43 Mgal per well, with a 95-percent confidence interval of 1.76–3.11 Mgal per well.

Suggested Citation

McShane, R.R., Barnhart, T.B., Valder, J.F., Haines, S.S., Macek-Rowland, K.M., Carter, J.M., Delzer, G.C., and Thamke, J.N., 2020, Estimates of water use associated with continuous oil and gas development in the Williston Basin, North Dakota and Montana, 2007–17: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5012, 26 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20205012

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods for Analyzing Water Use
  • Results of Water-Use Analysis
  • Comparisons to Water-Use Estimates from Other Studies
  • Limitations of Water-Use Analysis for the Williston Basin
  • Summary
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. R Scripts
  • Appendix 2. Water-Use Estimates and Coefficients

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Estimates of water use associated with continuous oil and gas development in the Williston Basin, North Dakota and Montana, 2007–17
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2020-5012
DOI 10.3133/sir20205012
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) WY-MT Water Science Center
Description Report: vii, 26 p.; 2 Appendixes; Data Release
Country United States
State North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana
Other Geospatial Williston Basin
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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