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Enhancing water security in a rapidly developing shale gas region

Holding, Shannon, Allen, Diana M., Notte, Chelsea, Olewiler, Nancy
Journal of hydrology 2017 v.11 pp. 266-277
data collection, decision making, energy resources, hydrology, issues and policy, risk, risk assessment, shale, stakeholders, wastewater, water management, water quality, British Columbia
This study is based in the rapidly developing shale gas region of Northeast British Columbia, Canada.Water security is central to decision-making within a water–energy nexus. In areas where energy resources, such as shale gas, are undergoing rapid development, water security and the associated risks to water quality and quantity are of paramount concern. However, in many regions there is a lack of understanding and data on the hydrologic system, particularly its vulnerability to hazards. The data and knowledge gap poses challenges for effective regulation of the shale gas activities and management of water resources. This paper describes initiatives that are addressing concerns surrounding water security in Northeast British Columbia.Initiatives and tools enhancing water security in the region include strategic partnerships and stakeholder collaborations, policy and regulation development, and data collection and distribution efforts. The contributions and limitations of each of these are discussed. A vulnerability mapping framework is presented which addresses data gaps and provides a tool for decision-making surrounding risk to water quality from various hazards. An example vulnerability assessment was conducted for wastewater transport along pipeline and trucking corridors.