Ex_Mil8 saidFracking does use a hell of a lot of water though, so it could cause water shortages.
No. Hydraulic fracturing (id est, fracking) "frees" H2O, and thus, H2O is a byproduct of fracking. Wherein lies the problem is that the "wastewater" is then injected back into the ground. This appears from all indications to produce an increase in earthquakes.
As the USGS notes:
Earth's crust is pervasively fractured at depth by faults. These faults can sustain high stresses without slipping because natural "tectonic" stress and the weight of the overlying rock pushes the opposing fault blocks together, increasing the frictional resistance to fault slip. The injected wastewater counteracts the frictional forces on faults and, in effect, "pries them apart", thereby facilitating earthquake slip.http://www.usgs.gov/faq/?q=categories/9833/3426http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-12/earthquake-outbreak-in-central-u-s-tied-to-drilling-wastewater.html
addendum est: I await the USGS's long-term study on the effect of ground H2O contamination. Unlike the DOE, they have baseline readings that should provide a better understanding of the safety of fracking.http://water.usgs.gov/coop/products/energy/shale.cwp.summary.pdf