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Muskingum Water District halts water sales
State's largest watershed won't sell to energy companies until it revises policies

Kabir Bhatia
In The Region:
The Muskingum Water Conservancy District announced Thursday it is halting sales of water to oil and gas drilling companies. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia has more on what's next for the state's largest watershed.
Muskingum Water District halts water sales

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The water district in southeastern Ohio approved a sale to Gulfport Energy earlier this year, and then received about a dozen more requests for water from other energy companies. Oil and gas drilling that involves fracking requires a nearby water supply.

Muskingum spokesman Darrin Lautenschleger says the agency’s water supply policy must be updated before the district grants new requests.

“It’s the right time to kind of slow the process down, make sure that we have all of the available and necessary information to make informed and effective decisions. And allow the public to be part of that process, as with all of our operations, so they can get a full grasp of what information’s available, what the concerns are. [It will] allow us to interact with the public and environmental groups on what their concerns are. Then develop the proper policies, and changes policies, that may be needed.”

The watershed district is also waiting on a geological survey of water availability for the Atwood, Clendening and Leesville reservoirs. That study is due later this year.

In the next two weeks, Gulfport Energy’s request for 11 million gallons of water from Clendening Lake will be complete. Lautenschleger says that amounts to less than one-percent of the lake’s total water.
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