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As drilling grows, so do water use worries in Colo.

A recent water auction in northeast Colorado has raised concerns among agriculture interests and environmentalists that development of the Niobrara Shale formation along the Front Range could squeeze farmers and growing municipalities out of badly needed water. The state auction last month involved more than 8 billion gallons of unallocated water in northeast Colorado, where the Niobrara play is booming. While the agricultural sector successfully bid for the majority of water, a growing volume was purchased by companies that supply water to the oil and natural gas industry for use in hydraulic fracturing.



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