For a time, water usage for hydraulic fracturing was treated more as an environmental nuisance than a economic challenge for oil and gas companies. Today, though, water use is becoming one of the most expensive aspects of the whole shale drilling process. Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD) estimates that well costs in the water-starved Permian Basin region have increased by 11% over this quarter; all of which is from increased water costs. Yet despite the $5-per-barrel-of-oil-produced cost for sourcing and disposing of freshwater, only 10% of the water recovered from wells is being recycled today.

In regions like the Permian and Eagle Ford, this problem is only going to get worse, and it's getting the attention of major shale drillers such as Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) and Encana (NYSE:ECA). Find out some of the techniques companies are using to reduce costs through better water usage and how it impacts the bottom line by tuning into the video below.

America's $600 billion Energy Problem Means Invest in These 3 Stocks Today

A dark spectre is looming that is ready to stop America's Energy boom right in its tracks, and no one is talking about it. This one critical element could cost us over $600 billion, but every day we wait that number grows and grows. The US Government thinks investment in this sector is so important, even the Internal Revenue Service will give you a free pass if you invest in this select group of stocks. Our analysts at The Motley Fool have combed over this special class of stocks and we have identified 3 that could make you rich! Find out the names of these IRS-gift-wrapped stocks in our special report "3 Stocks The IRS Is Begging You To Buy." Simply click here and we'll give you free access to this valuable investing resource. 

Tyler Crowe has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him at under the handle TMFDirtyBird, on Google+, or on Twitter @TylerCroweFool.

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