FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) -- Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Chesapeake Energy Corporation have partnered to save approximately $75,000 annually in water consumption. Chesapeake recently dug a well and constructed a pond near the seminary’s natural gas well to help alleviate water consumption from the city’s water supply.

“Southwestern Seminary has formed a relationship with Chesapeake Energy that will benefit both parties for years to come,” said Tim Leitch, associate vice president for business administration at Southwestern.

Chesapeake will use water from the pond for hydraulic fracturing and the seminary will use water from the pond for irrigation purposes. Although paid for by Chesapeake, the well and pond are under the ownership of the seminary.

Leitch added, “I have been pleased to work with Chesapeake and with their attitude toward working together to solve problems and minimize the impact on our current operations. This project provides benefits that will support Southwestern Seminary in training men and women for ministry for many years ahead.”

Southwestern, which sits on the Barnett Shale, signed a contract in 2006 to drill for natural gas, which will potentially bring in millions of dollars to the seminary. The Barnett Shale is a geological formation of bedrock that stretches across more than 5,000 square miles and at least 17 North Texas counties. Hydraulic fracturing methods use water and sand under intense pressure to break the Barnett Shale, releasing the gas.

Southwestern has historically been one of the largest water users in Fort Worth, but by using the pond water, the seminary estimates saving nearly 28 million gallons of water per year.