Water Policy Issues and Knowledge Gaps

2021 Policy Issue Associated Knowledge Gap(s)
Safeguarding groundwater and surface water quantity and quality

Assess the cumulative effects – both benefits and impacts – of dugouts and borrow pits on the landscape on land use and biodiversity, and water quality and quantity. Assess whether reclamation of borrow pits, or natural regeneration, has greater environmental outcomes.

Identify alternative method(s) of designating ‘locally constrained areas’ to that proposed in the AER’s draft Water Conservation Policy Manual.

Identify alternative method(s) of calculating the large-scale project threshold to that proposed in the AER’s draft Water Conservation Policy Manual.

Enabling the use of alternative water sources to high-quality non-saline water

Identify the specific barriers to recycling water in hydraulic fracturing operations in different regions of Alberta; i.e., treatment technologies, regulatory barriers, storage limitations, costs, water quality limitations? Project should include survey of operator water teams, a jurisdictional review of AB vs BC (where recycling rates are much higher), and interviews to gather operator experiences in both jurisdictions.

Evaluate whether an appropriately sensitive pipeline leak detection sensor could be adapted for use in temporary surface pipelines (e.g., layflat hose) carrying non-fresh water, as an alternative to visual inspections.

Improving the operational business environment by generating efficiencies and cost savings in water management

Identify optimizations/efficiencies that operators could adopt to meet the application requirements for temporary surface pipelines; e.g., creating maps, writing letters, surveys, field scouting, using other disposition holders’ TSAs to avoid duplication of effort.