The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) has suspended 41 water withdrawals in Pennsylvania as of Monday afternoon because of low-flowing streams in the central part of the state, forcing many natural gas driller to stop taking water from certain local waterways.
While the suspensions impact users in various industries -- including golf courses -- most involve energy companies.
That includes Marcellus Shale heavyweights Chesapeake Energy Corp., Talisman Energy Inc., Chief Oil & Gas LLC., Southwestern Energy Production Co., XTO Energy Inc., Ultra Resources Inc. and Tennessee Gas Pipeline, among other smaller companies.
The suspensions cover 10 Pennsylvania counties including Bradford, Susquehanna and Tioga, the three most productive in the Marcellus.
The SRBC uses meters operated by the U.S. Geological Survey to monitor water flow in real time. Companies must halt withdrawals when streams drop below a pre-determined level, known as "Q7-10," or 10% of the lowest average seven-day stretch over a 10-year period.
Companies can begin withdrawing again once streams stay above the recovery threshold for 48 hours.
The SRBC is also currently taking comments on proposed rules that would impact natural gas development in the region.
One rule would allow operators to move wastewater from a well site inside the basin to a site or a disposal facility outside the basin to encourage recycling or proper disposal over additional fresh water withdrawals for hydraulic fracturing operations.