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Water use for shale gas extraction in the Sichuan Basin, ChinaThis study investigates the use of water for extracting shale gas in the Sichuan Basin of China. Both net water use and water intensity (i.e., water use per unit of gas produced) of shale wells are estimated by applying a process-based life cycle inventory (LCI) model. The results show that the net water use and water intensity are around 24500 m3/well and 1.9 m3 water/104m3 gas respectively, and that the fracturing and completion stage of shale gas extraction accounts for the largest share in net water use. A comparison shows that China's water use for shale gas extraction is generally higher than that of other countries. By considering the predicted annual drilling activities in the Sichuan Basin, we find that the annual water demand for shale gas development is likely to be negligible compared to total regional water supply. However, considering the water demand for shale gas extraction and the water demand from other sectors may make water availability a significant concern for China's shale gas development in the future.