Water is used in oil and gas development to lubricate and cool drill bits, create fluid for hydraulic fracturing, and to bring rock cuttings to the surface during the drilling process. In Colorado, less than one-tenth of one percent of the states’ water is used for hydraulic fracturing and oil shale development. In January 2013, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) approved the most rigorous statewide mandatory groundwater sampling and monitoring rules in the United States. In fact, they are the only rules that require pre- and post-drilling sampling. Both rules, 609 and 318.e (4), became effective on May 1, 2013.

Produced Water Initiative

December 2013 Nestled between the Grand Valley’s soaring Book Cliffs and the high-desert canyons of the West Slope, Colorado Mesa University faculty and students are gathering round the table to talk with oil and gas industry stakeholders and state regulators about the beneficial use of water produced from oil and gas operations. Their collaborative efforts are part of the Produced Water Initiative (PWI), developed by the Redifer Institute at Colorado Mesa University (CMU). The Redifer Institute is a research and policy organization of the University that includes the Water Center, Center for Local Government, Natural Resource Center, ... Read More »

Fast Facts: Produced Water

Based on a ruling of the Colorado Supreme Court in April 2009, the Colorado State Engineer's Office (SEO) was tasked with regulating coal-bed methane wells under the Colorado Ground Water Management Act and the Water Right Determination and Administration Act. By Colorado law, all groundwater is presumed to be tributary unless proven otherwise. (1) The Produced Nontributary Ground Water Rules were created to identify areas within Colorado where the SEO would regard produced water as nontributary. Read More »

Water Use

In 2012 COGA published Colorado oil and gas industry water usage facts, “Water Use Fast Facts”, which can be found at www.coga.org, under Fast Facts. In summary, the facts estimate water use for oil and gas development at 0.13% of Colorado’s total 2012 water use. That’s 6.5 billion gallons of water for the year at far less than one percent of all water use. These billions of gallons are compared with other users in the state and, despite being “billions” in number, they are the lowest of notable users, such as Irrigation (4497.5 billion gallons/year), Public Supply (315.4 billion gallons/year), and Mining (7.8 billion gallons/year ... Read More »

Mythbusters: Industry Water Use

Water used for oil and gas operations falls under the jurisdiction of multiple regulations that dictate its acquisition and use. Below are some of the more common myths surrounding water use in oil and gas development, and explanations as to how they are misinformed—and sometimes flat out wrong. Read More »

Fast Facts: Water Use

Water is vital to all life and scarce in the West. Its use and management is critical to our industry stakeholders. The primary use for water in modern oil and gas development is in the drilling and completion phases. During drilling, water is used to cool the drill bit and provide a mechanism to bring drill cuttings to the surface. Water is also used for hydraulic fracturing, which pumps water down the wellbore under high pressure to create hairline fractures to release oil and gas. Read More »