Fracking with Freshwater

The B.C. government is allowing the fracking industry to pollute billions of litres of water for mere pennies.

Key takeaways from our report

  • Oil and gas is the only industry in B.C. that is permitted to extract fresh water, contaminate it, and then dispose of it untreated in a manner that removes it permanently from the water cycle.
  • Fracking creates enormous volumes of wastewater which can cause serious harm to people and the environment. In B.C., wastewater is currently disposed of untreated into what the industry calls disposal wells.
  • There is no way to frack without poisoning huge amounts of water, and there is no way to clean up or dispose of the wastewater from fracking without putting communities and the environment at risk.
  • If completed, the five liquified natural gas (LNG) terminals currently under consideration in B.C. would require the province to more than double its fracked gas production. In turn, this would more than double the industry’s demand for freshwater, to at least 10.4 billion litres of water a year, or enough to fill 4,160 Olympic swimming pools.
  • Historically the oil and gas industry used relatively little water compared to other industrial users. This changed dramatically in 2005 with the introduction of fracking, but laws and regulations have not yet been updated to reflect this new reality.

Help protect freshwater in B.C. from toxic fracking

Email the B.C. government

Take Action

What the B.C. government needs to do protect fresh water

Require the treatment and increased reuse of fracking wastewater to reduce the amount of freshwater used in the process

Improve standards for disposal wells and begin baseline and ongoing testing of water systems impacted by oil and gas;

End special treatment for oil and gas by returning the power to issue water licence and permits for the industry to the Water Stewardship Branch

Charge fracking companies a price for water high enough to encourage the conservation of freshwater.

“Oil and gas is the only industry in B.C. that is permitted to extract freshwater, poison it, and then dispose of it, untreated, because toxicity levels are so high that it cannot be safely returned to the water cycle.”

Sven Biggs’s Canadian Oil and Gas Program Director.