How Much Is A Million Gallons of Water?

Betty Sutliff
Wayne County Landowner
Member of Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance



Fractivists love to talk about the amount of water used in fracking, ignoring the fact combustion of gas produces water and emphasizing the “millions,” but how much is a million gallons of water, really?

Kindergarten and first grade teachers typically mark the 100th day of the school year with special activities to bring home the concept of “one hundred” to their students.  Fourth grade teachers are entrusted with the curriculum that tries to help students grasp the concept of “one million.”  One million seems like a huge and hard number to grasp, not only for nine and ten year olds, but apparently for Fractivists, too.

With so much hoopla from the Fractivists over a million gallons of water being used in hydraulic fracturing, it appears the anti gassers don’t have a clear concept of what one million gallons is, or they seem to think that the use of that much water is limited to fracking. So, I looked up some statistics to share, which, hopefully, will bring some clarity to this muddy water.

First, to make a mental picture of what a million gallons looks like, picture what would be held by a 51 foot cube and then read these interesting facts.

million gallons

According to EPA’s Water Trivia Facts:

About 400 billion gallons of water are used in the United States per day.  Keep in mind that a billion, here in the States, is a thousand million.

Nearly one-half of the water used by Americans is used for thermoelectric power generation.  So, if you are really concerned about water usage, stop using electricity!

750,000 gallons of water flow over Niagara Falls in one second.  At that rate, it would take 1.3 seconds for a million gallons to go over the falls.  The flow rate of the Delaware would be pretty close to that, so, if you stood on the banks of the Delaware, a million gallons of water would go past you every second.

It takes 660,000 gallons to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.  Those of you with backyard pools could stop filling them.  Plus, think of all of those chemicals in your backyard.

million gallonsThe New York City water supply system leaks 36 million gallons per day.   Hmmm!  I wonder what is Mario doing to remedy that?

It takes 39,090 gallons of water to manufacture a new car.  Those anti fossil fuel folks really need to stop driving.

According to Ecotech Water Trivia Facts, it takes 300 million gallons of water to produce a single day’s supply of U.S. newsprint.

According to Worldwatch Institute, it takes 2.5 billion gallons per day to water the golf courses of the world.  According to USGA, just a little over 2 billion gallons were used per day in the US on golf courses.  Maybe that helps dilute the pesticides they use!

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not in favor of wasting water or polluting water. I just think a little perspective is needed.

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25 thoughts on “How Much Is A Million Gallons of Water?

      • SO then it is true .Learn what really goes on and you will understand this position .It comes from experience not the drive for prosperity .Oh I can also emphasize on this if necessary ,but I thought I’d just get right to the reality for all readers sake .

          • NO ….No need to BS.The industry fills this position SO well . I just post on what I have seen and dealt with .

        • Bill
          Why is it fracktivist such as yourself always use ten fingers to point in one direction? Is it possible people such as yourself only learn from one side of a double sided page out of a book? Where is the outrage on the devastating cost of solar? The water pollution created from the production of solar panels? Where do you stand on the hundreds of millions of pounds of fish kills created by unregulated dumping of solar production water dumped directly into rivers? Why is there no talk of the low birth weight of tens of thousands of babies from the women who work and live nearby solar production factories, the high cancer rates, the high death rates amongst factory workers and their family members? Why Bill is their no call for a moratorium or ban until these issues are answered, the air quality fixed? Is it because these issues along with the solar panel manufacturers are not n your back yard? Is that it Bill? Please Bill we deserve an answer from you or any anti on these questions! Perhaps you can get the fabricator of solar mis information himself {ADAM FLINT} to help you with the answers to these questions! I would love to debate Adam Flint on this issue. You see Bill people like you and Adam can lie to the ignorant people in a trance like state who cant decide whether or not there coming or going, but anyone with half a brain would and will see right through your hypocritical stance on your BS I lived it lie. There was an old saying my father had when I was a kid and Hubert Humphrey would give a speech on TV. “Idiots should be seen but not heard”

          • VIC …NO BS just “Telling it like it Really is from what I have seen done to some .Another thing “Solar ‘ or other alternative sources aren’t usually heavy industrial operations set up only a few hundred feet from homes in areas that are NOT zoned industrial .Also there are many other issues that are so numerous and create multiple nuisances to those in drilling areas ( in which most people do not make out but have the burden ) Of course you are entitled to your position as I am entitled to mine except mine comes from actual experiences of over 5 yrs of what really goes on with drilling,fracing ,associated construction ,leases ,and much more .I have learned that the neighborly NG co’s are not what they claim to be and manipulation and deceit is just pare for the course. Believe what you want .I lived what I post …REAL simply

      • Tom, it’s strange that all of these anti natural gas drilling, clean air advocates, don’t consider pot smoke a health hazard. None of them own land in the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania, or the Southern Tier of New York State. Ironically, they continue to harp that natural gas drilling is making the air quality worst, when in fact, the air quality has much improved, with the advent of natural gas drilling. However, they have no complaints about that good, clean pot smoke. To them it’s health food, and It’s good for your lungs. However, It certainly has affected their brain matter. No problem there.

  1. I would go one step further. I suggest that the Natural Gas development companies invest in the neighborhood wastewater treatment plants to produce industrial grade non contact cooling water from the effluent not just for well development but local industries that employ people.
    1. This promotes the concept of “sustainability”.
    2. It reduces the need to raise taxes for infrastructure upgrades.
    3. Existing municipal systems are in dire need of reconstruction nationwide. Right now the amount of water infiltrating WWTP’s is staggering. This requires additional energy to treat unnecessarily.

  2. Hello Betty,

    Great article! I’ve been converting water to cubic miles for a long time. I really dislike it when someone slants the water debate with zillions of anything. Your cube is a thing of beauty and I’ll remember it as 1,000,000 gallons of water is a cube about 50 feet on each side.

    Here’s some cubic miles for you:
    Susquehanna River: 8.6 cu-mi/year
    Hudson River: 4.7 cu-mi/year
    Mississippi River 127 cu-mi/year
    The USA uses about 132 cu-mi/year
    4,000 MW combined cycle power plant = 0.03 cu-mi/year.

    Keep writing, PatL

    • Never mind water usage (which has changed since drillers use water now for more than one job) how about 25000 (approx.) gals of chemicals , per Frac job (multiple fracs are common /well ) per pad of (6 or more wells X pads per square mile X thousands over short the area (like Susquehanna,Bradford,Tioga ,Wyoming counties for one . .I like math too !Do the math .

      • Again Bill more BS out of your mouth then one should have to endure. please do me a favor and list the chemicals used on the surface of the earth and above aquifers by grape farmers? Answer this question ” how much muric acid is used a year in NYC to degrease the sidewalks, subways, and roadways? You see Bill you use chemicals as a tool of fear where in as the educated know better, chemicals are a tool when regulated as all chemicals should be, benefit both man and mother earth. ITS CALLED PROGRESS…

        • VIC ..NO BS …one source .. …I have watched pallet after pallet injected into the ground ( 25000 gallons is an approximate amount ) for each frac job (multiples are common X 6 or more wells on a pad ( heard as much as 18 are possible because rather than refrac co’s drill another well (seems to be easier ) HCL at 60% concentration (by Mass ) is possible .Many more chemicals at High concentrations are used ,Check on it .Also I use chemicals as one issue because I have seen plenty of spills besides flowback and produced water ( which continues to be produced years after ftacing ) .It’s not Progress to me when I see people who have had it done close by get sick or have other issues from the operations .Only a few make out ALL experience the nuisances that take place 24/7 and for months and months if the area is active .DEP’s or DEC does nothing in most (if not all ) cases.I personally know people who have had problems for years….You talk about being educated ,well then “just do it “Most of you people that support HVHF have reasons of profit on you’re mines and that’s as far as you all go .Why should you all care about neighbors (an other’s ) as long as you make out .RIGHT …….just an ignorant approach as far as I’m concern ….END

  3. 4. Antis who use the ‘boom/bust” argument not good planners. A permanent investment in infrastructure (roads, sewers, potable water, etc) will go a long way. However, industries like “tourism” (especially high end) are the real “boom/bust” situation. Anyone with a shred of common sense knows that when times get tough, people become very frugal, and vacations are rare.
    5. There are no panaceas. Industry should not be given carte blanc and sensible regulations must be adhered to. This goes for ALL industries, even the so-called “green” ones which the antis never seem to admit of their short comings.

    • After drilling in an area decreases road maintenance decreases too due to either Impact or other source supporting roads etc diminishing .Heavy industry next to people’s homes first of all should not be allowed .If so strong REG’s are required to at least try to maintain safe environments.The proper procedure would be to disallow drilling close to residences and places of community ,but it seems legislatures have turned their heads for the sake of themselves or other reasons .This is why we have industrial zoning in some places .Unfortunately HVHF seems to have skirted this procedure ( For now ) .

      • Bill,
        NY has more stringent regulations than Pa. So it is apples and oranges. Due to the differences in topography, access to potential locations require less of an impact if any at all. Lets take a wind farm for example. These massive towers need to be constructed at high elevations. Long and winding plus easily erodable roads need to be built and maintained for the life of the

        • BS created nuisances from HVHF are the same No matter where it is done and many have issues and only very few make out .Don’t fool yourself that No impact will be felt ! This is a lie or illusion .Count on it !

      • Bill keeps repeating “heavy industry next to people’s homes first of all should not be allowed.” I guess Bill must live in the middle of the woods and never visited a city or town that has steel mills and other heavy industries located in them near homes. If we were to listen to Bill the only feasible place for drilling would be the middle of the desert.

        • Donald ….for your info I grew up in a very large city that’s why I have so much concern for my area now.Don’t want it to be like I once new ….

  4. (Cont) which comes at a higher cost. Don’t forget the disruption that comes the transport of the multiple 100 foot blades to the tower site. In some cases, existing roads had to be reconfigured just to accommodate the blades. So who pays for that?
    How about the negative impact to bats and birds? Duke Energy had to pay a 1 Million Dollar fine due to the massacre of Golden Eagles (a protected species) a few years back. At least the development of a gas well can provide the opportunity for reestablishment where the necessary infrastructure must stay in place for wind turbines. Don’t forget the disruption for a large amount of transmission wires and towers which are needed to transmit it from the turbine towers to the grid. Also, the new Article X of the PSL now allows electricity that is generated by “green” methods to circumvent SEQRA. Think about how that would go over in some “touristy” area. So if you want to do a fair comparison, you are free to try again.

    • Yes other sources have issues too but operations don’t usually set up next to people’s home ( within 2 days or less ) and turn the area into a HEAVY industrial operation with multiple nuisances and health hazards .Your comparison just seems real stupid to me .Did I mention pipelines and compressor stations too ? .Everyday there are new developments in alternate sources and utilities are offering ( “Wind Power feeds I know because I am on one and the cost is the same ( or sometimes much less ) HVHF is NOT or never will be a “Safe ” process .END

      • Bill,
        Since I don’t know you from Adam, I will have to lop you into the same category as other fractivists. The problem is that the antis in your midst do not take into consideration the downsides of what they think will be considered “safe”. Actually I agree that siting a well in an already industrialized area or one on close proximity to existing infrastructure makes more sense, not just from an environmental perspective but a land use one.

  5. Another mind bender on water is for every inch of precipation that falls you have 0.623 gallons of water per square foot. A square mile has 28 million 878 thousand 400 square feet. If a single square has one inch of rain fall on it the yield of water is 17 million 368 thousand 243 gallons of water. When one goes and looks up the square of ones county combined with the annual precipation it become pretty apparent that 5 to 8 million gallons of water times 1000 is very little of the annual supply. The be over water use in tracking is meant to scare the ignorant masses

    • .
      Rain is good.
      For Pennsylvania and New York it’s about 60 cu.-mi. / year.
      That is about half the fresh water we use in America each year.

      Speaking of water, what we (USA) should do is run some big pipes out of Lake Superior and join it up with the Lower Colorado River. There are so many good people out in the southwest that could use the water. The Mighty Colorado is pretty dry….

    • Water is only one nuisance related to the process .Get over it .Co’s have begun to reuse water from one frac job to another .It’s a start but still an industrial operation !


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