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.

Coalition Letter: Groundwater Sampling and Monitoring Rules

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) is conducting a rulemaking to evaluate the need for a statewide baseline groundwater testing program. Over the last decade, Colorado has implemented a number of successful basin-specific water testing programs that have built public confidence in industry’s ability to protect groundwater in conjunction with oil and gas drilling operations. Additionally, there is a statewide voluntary groundwater monitoring program that began in January of 2012 in which operators who drill over 93% of the wells drilled in Colorado participate. Read More »

Basics: Colorado Water Supply

Hydraulic fracturing and its impact on Colorado’s water supply is often misunderstood. To fracture an average horizontal well in Colorado, and most other parts of the nation, two to five million gallons of water are needed. Sound like a lot? It isn’t if you put that into perspective with the state’s total usage: It is a drop in the bucket. For example, in 2010 4.53 billion gallons were used for hydraulic fracturing across Colorado. As staggering as that may sound, this figure only represents 0.08% of Colorado’s water use in 2010; not even 1/1000 of total annual use. Read More »