WHEREAS increased oil activities are using more and more potable groundwater for oilfield injection and other industrial needs;AND WHEREAS potable water is life-giving, and if injected into deep wells is lost forever;AND WHEREAS it is believed that potable ground water attracts rainfall to the area;AND WHEREAS the Water Act gives the provincial government the ability to develop, with local and regional input, potable ground water policies designed to address the needs of a specific region in the province;AND WHEREAS the South/Central Eastern portions of the province of Alberta have suffered one of the worst droughts ever;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to strengthen its policies on the allocation of potable and/or fresh water for oilfield injection and industrial needs, and in particular, to disallow injection of potable and/or fresh water for oilfield injection and industrial needs.
The Water Act gives the Government of Alberta the authority to develop water policies for a specific region of the province. Water injected into deep wells is lost forever, which affects the availability of water resources for other users such as the agricultural and municipal sectors. It is believed that surface water attracts rainfall, and that a lack of surface water may be a contributing factor to the severe drought in Eastern Alberta.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue. However, members have addressed this issue by way of resolution several times in previous years.Resolution 9-96S, which was endorsed by delegates to the Spring 1996 Convention (and which lapsed earlier this year), called on the provincial government to prohibit the use of potable water for oilfield injection purposes.Resolution 5-95S, endorsed by delegates to the Spring 1995 Convention, made the same request, as did Resolution 3-93S, endorsed at the Spring 1993 Convention.
The Government of Alberta has mandated that all potable water treatment systems be upgraded to meet the 2006 Drinking Water Standards. However, based on the delayed full funding of MSI and fiscal constraints that will not allow increased grant funding through other programs, the provincial government has downloaded an increased mandate without appropriate funding. This issue was raised at a meeting with the Minister of Environment in March 2010 and the AAMDC will continue to advocate on it in the future. In addition, the AAMDC will work with Alberta Environment as they move forward with reviewing the overall water/wastewater infrastrucutre funding methods in Alberta, as this may have an effect on this resolution’s intent.