The amount of water used per well jumped as much as 770 percent between 2011 and 2016, researchers say. As fracking expands, its water and wastewater footprints are forecast to continue to balloon. Credit: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images As the fracking boom matures, the drilling industry’s use of water and other fluids to produce oil and natural gas has grown dramatically in the past several years, outstripping the growth of the fossil fuels it produces. A new study published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances says the trend—a greater environmental toll than previously described—results from recent changes in drilling practices as drillers compete to make new wells more productive. For example, well operators have increased the length of the horizontal portion of wells drilled through shale rock where rich reserves of oil and gas are locked up. They also have significantly increased the amount of water, sand and other […]