WHEREAS there is a concern about the enormous waste of fresh water by the oil and gas industry through hydro-fracking and water injection processes; and
WHEREAS injection of 32 million cubic meters (the current total of licenses held by the oil and gas industry in Alberta) of fresh water is permanently removed from the aquatic cycle; and
WHEREAS free and easy access to fresh water for enhanced oil recovery acts as a disincentive for oil and gas companies to pursue alternate methods such as carbon dioxide injection, light oil hydrofracking or to drill deeper to locate and pipe non-potable water for injection purposes; and
WHEREAS rural municipalities are concerned with the amount of potable water used in the fracking and water injection process;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta request the Government of Alberta to immediately strike a multi-stakeholder committee to work at reducing the use of potable water and explore alternate options for use by the oil and gas industry in Alberta.
A reliable water supply for a sustainable economy is one of the key goals of Water for Life, Alberta’s Strategy for Sustainability. The Advisory Committee on Water Use Practices and Policy was formulated in 2003 to examine the use of fresh water for underground injection. The Government of Alberta working, in partnership with industry, interest groups and non-government organizations, developed the Water Conservation and Allocation Policy for oilfield injection, with a goal to reduce or eliminate the allocation of non-saline water for deep well injection. Applications for the use of fresh water for injection continue to be filed with the Alberta Energy Regulator, and are approved on the basis that there is no economical
alternative (saline water or carbon dioxide) that is available or because the diversion of ground water was previously approved through the licensing process.
Currently the oil industry holds licenses for up to 32 million cubic meters of ground water diversion. The suggestion that use of non-saline ground water for enhancing oil field production is the most economical means is found on the premise that ground water has no dollar value. Such is not the case for those communities in Alberta that must pipe water to support residents. With the ever-increasing drought conditions across the Prairie provinces, ground water is becoming a scarce resource that must be conserved. Fresh water flooding of oil fields results in the water being lost to the eco-system forever. It is imperative that the Government of Alberta establish policies to regulate ground water usage by the oil and gas industry for the protection and sustainability of this vital resource.
RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.