“CARLSBAD — In the Permian Basin, now the most prolific oil field in the world, hundreds of miles of plastic pipelines snake along dirt roads, drilling pads and the edges of farm fields. But they are not carrying oil. They’re transporting an another precious commodity in this arid region on the New Mexico-Texas border: water.
“Pipelines are going in everywhere,” said Jim Davis as he drove a camouflage-hued, four-wheel ATV across his land toward the water station he owns. Selling the water beneath his property to oil and gas companies has given Davis and his wife, who has cancer, financial security that eluded them for most of their lives. Every day, a steady stream of water trucks flows in and out of his station south of Carlsbad, filling up on his high-quality fresh water — an essential component for hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.
Davis, whose property has been in his family since 1953, says he’s never seen so much water moving around the Permian Basin.”