WHEREAS the Alberta government is still issuing water licenses for the purpose of injection flooding of oil fields in and near settled areas; and WHEREAS current water licenses for Enhanced Oil Recovery authorize the injection of in excess of 32 million cubic meters of surface water and non-saline groundwater that is permanently removed from the aquatic system; and WHEREAS the average family of three consumes 130 cubic meters of water annually, these 32 million cubic meters is sufficient water to service approximately 250,000 households (750,000 people); and WHEREAS a growing volume of evidence shows that this precious liquid (which is necessary for life and more valuable than oil) is in declining supply and is in serious long term jeopardy; and WHEREAS a growing number of municipalities are processing and transporting potable water valued up to $4.00 per cubic meter; and WHEREAS the free and easy access to surface and shallow groundwater for Enhanced Oil Recovery acts as a disincentive for oil companies in pursuing more expensive alternate methods such as CO2 injection or to drill deeper to locate and pipe saline waters for injection purposes; and WHEREAS water licenses are renewed annually and are subject to change as directed by the public interest;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties requests that the Government of Alberta implement an immediate moratorium on new water licenses for deep well flooding with fresh groundwater, in all areas of the province where groundwater IS AND MAY BE required for human consumption; andFURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Government of Alberta to implement a one-year timetable for the cancellation of existing water licenses that allow deep well flooding with fresh groundwater, in all areas of the province where groundwater IS AND MAY BE required for human consumption; andFURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties draft a petition based on these two clauses and send it out to municipalities who want to participate, so that the will of the people can be expressed on this vital issue.
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 and Utilities Board, 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 founded 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 the 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 for the protection and sustainability of this vital resource.
esolution ER2-06S: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request that Alberta Environment undertake groundwater resource mapping for all of Alberta, and not only concentrate on central Alberta.Resolution 9-05F: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to establish an industry fund similar to the Orphan Well Fund to supply full monetary support to surface owners that suffer from damages to their groundwater resources as a result of CBM development.Resolution ER1-06S: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Alberta Municipal Districts and Counties request Alberta Environment to include all oil and gas drilling and all seismic operations when they develop standard procedures and reporting requirements for baseline testing of well water.In addition, the AAMDC sits on the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) Advisory Committee. One of the committee’s primary objectives is to control pollution or assist the Government to control pollution and ensure environment conservation in the exploration, development, production and transportation of energy resources. These interests include land, watershed and airshed preservation. The AAMDC is also a member of the Alberta Water Council. One of the Alberta Water Council’s primary strategic objectives is to develop policy focusing on the preservation of groundwater resources in Alberta.
The AAMDC distributed a petition document to the membership in the spring of 2008 which was then submitted to the government. In its response to the petition, the Government noted it will conduct an in-depth review of the results of the 2006 Water Conservation and Allocation Policy for Oilfield Injection over the next 1-2 years. This policy requires a shift from fresh water to saline water or alternative sources whenever possible. In accordance with this policy, the oil and gas industry reviewed its Water Act licences to identify opportunities for reductions in water allocations and actual use. This was completed in 2008, and resulted in a 50 per cent reduction in industry allocation of deemed licences. Further, since 1972, non-saline water used for enhanced oil recovery projects has decreased by 75 per cent. The AAMDC received a letter on this issue from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) in April 2010. In this letter, CAPP discusses these reductions in non-saline water use. CAPP notes that water licensing decisions are subject to policy and regulatory considerations that balance all environmental considerations. CAPP does not support a moratorium as called for in this resolution, but is developing a sector water conservation, efficiency and productivity plan. In addition to the actions taken to date, this plan will assist in achieving the intent of this resolution.