To extract natural gas from shale rock deep underground producers must use millions of gallons of water for fracking, but much of the world’s natural gas is in regions where water is already scarce, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.

“Natural gas from shale formations, long inaccessible because of their geology, has been unlocked in recent years by high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which involves underground injection of millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals,” The Times reports, citing a recent report by the World Resources Institute. “The demand for water for fracking has already stoked tensions in the United States as the practice has spread to areas where water resources are limited, such as Texas and Colorado.”

Some of the largest natural gas deposits in the western United States are in places where there is far greater competition for more limited water resources, especially from agriculture. “Ten gas deposits ‘sit atop aquifers that are being withdrawn at rates that far exceed their natural recharge rate,” The Times reported. The newspaper said natural gas producers could face increased costs and regulations due to the water shortages.

To read the Los Angeles Times article, click here.