<< Go Back

Why was Colorado Water Watch Created

The recent marriage of horizontal drilling and fracking has helped shift the balance of domestic oil and natural gas production, as well as imports/exports. Concurrently, extensive production of shale gas and oil has created a public concern about possible environmental consequences, particularly with respect to contamination of drinking groundwater aquifers. Despite the sophisticated technology measures used during fracking, public concerns about risks to the water resources caused by oil and gas development: (a) produced water leaking into aquifers through well casing defects, (b) stray gas migration and contamination of aquifers that overlay shale gas basins (as in the case of Denver-Julesburg basin) and (c) hydraulic connectivity between the fracturing fissures and the overlying aquifers. The government has identified risks associated with oil and natural gas development (especially fracking) and established both required and recommended practices for minimizing the environmental and community risks to protect public health and the environment. More specifically, the COGCC has implemented increasingly protective regulations that require water quality testing near drill sites by EPA certified labs prior to drilling and after the completion of well production. Colorado Water Watch, with its real time groundwater monitoring network, is designed to complement the COGCC’s approach by providing an additional basis for understanding whether there are hydrologic environmental impacts associated with fracking and, if so, how they might affect aquifers in the Denver-Julesburg basin.