The dry weather is having an impact on some drilling operations in the Marcellus Shale region. It’s affecting water withdrawals in the Susquehanna River Basin.
The number of withdrawal suspensions ebbs and flows with the water flow levels, but operations in 13 Pennsylvania counties have been affected. Susan Obleski of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission says these water withdrawals have pass by flow restrictions. That means when a certain amount of water is not passing by the withdrawal points, the restrictions kick in.
Obleski says the pass by conditions are based on very conservative assumptions, so they tend to affect withdrawals long before any drought declarations are issued.
Most of the suspensions are related to hydrofracking operations for natural gas drilling but there are also some golf courses affected. Not all withdrawals have the restrictions, and those less than 100 thousand gallons a day that are not associated with natural gas development are not regulated by the commission.