In Question Period, I asked the Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources what actions the government will take to measure water use in hydraulic fracturing practices.
Q1 According to the Scientific Review of Hydraulic Fracturing in British Columbia released last week, there are significant problems with the monitoring of water related to hydraulic fracturing operations.
The report noted that “from a public perception perspective, the various activities associated with hydraulic fracturing appear to be unregulated, and this leads to fear and mistrust of the regulators.” The panel said current regulations might look robust, but there’s not enough information to assess compliance and enforcement.
The BC Oil and Gas Commission hydrology expert stated that “there are a lot of data shortages, especially in smaller basins, and industry is interested in these smaller basins.”
Experts from multiple government ministries, Treaty 8 First Nation Representatives, and Environmental Consultants, all raised concerns about the lack of baseline water quality data. They raised concerns about streamflow, lake levels, groundwater, surface water, and more.
My question is to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. What actions is the government taking to track the amount of water being used in Hydraulic Fracturing operations in British Columbia?
Q2 – Thank you Honourable Speaker.
During its review, water use was one of the most significant concerns raised with the scientific panel. The report stated that there is a lack of climate, hydrometic, and groundwater data in Northeastern BC and any data we do have is often outdated.
It also noted that “the capacity for waste-water storage is inadequate to meet the anticipated increase in production over the coming years” and that “there is no solid understanding of the volume needed and disposal requirements for growth scenarios.”
We cannot waste our water. Our climate is changing – extremes are getting stronger and droughts are getting longer and dryer. Government must understand and plan for the impacts of climate change on our province. We need to know the impact of fracking on our environment, and on our water resources. We also need to know how to clean it up.
My question is again to the Minister. How is the government deciding on the allocation of water used for fracking when we don’t know how much water is being used, what the impacts are, how much industry will need in the future or how to clean it up?