Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020ND086B

Using Coupled Human and Natural Systems for Water Resources Management in the Bakken Region of Western North Dakota

Institute: North Dakota
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-02-29 End Date: 2021-02-27
Total Federal Funds: $3,212 Total Non-Federal Funds: $6,424

Principal Investigators: Zhulu Lin

Abstract: Unconventional oil production at the Bakken Shale of western North Dakota has greatly increased nearly ten-fold from 2008 to 2014. During this period, Bakken Shale drilled approximately 10,000 horizontal wells and their hydraulic fracturing (HF) water demands increased around 20 times. Total estimated annual freshwater requirements for the Bakken shale are about 13,000 to 23,000 acre-feet per year. To address future potential HF water stress on the regional water resources, we will develop a three-steps project. First, we have already developed an agent-based model to simulate the water depot allocation system that emerged in the Bakken region. In the second component, we are integrating the water depot agent-based model with two hydrological models, a Soil and Water Assessment Tool model for surface water simulation, and a MODFLOW model for groundwater simulation. In the last component, we will use the integrated models for scenario analysis and water management policy evaluation under different climate conditions. Our research findings will help policy and decision-makers to devise appropriate policy tools to manage the regional water resources for long-term and sustainable use.