Fracking our Future: Measuring Water & Community Impacts from Hydraulic Fracturing
Speaker: Laura Belanger, Water Resources Engineer, Western Resource Advocates (WRA)
We are entering a new era in oil and gas development in the West, and Colorado specifically. Increased drilling and production is occurring near Front Range communities and populated areas, much closer than in previous decades. In 2011 over 80% of all new Colorado wells were drilled in just two counties, Weld and Garfield. This is raising new questions about local water supplies, and air and water quality, among other impacts. WRA recently completed a report which found that the volume of water needed to drill and hydraulically fracture (“frack”) new wells is significant, enough to meet the residential needs of the cities of Fort Collins or Lakewood (Colorado’s 4th and 5th largest cities) when reuse is included. In our semi-arid state with limited water resources that must be shared by a wide variety of water users, and in this time of drought, the impacts of the volumes of water needed for oil and gas development must be evaluated and better planned for.
About the Speaker:
Laura Belanger is a water resources engineer with Western Resource Advocates, a non-profit organization that works to protect the West’s land, air and water. At WRA, Laura evaluates proposed water supply projects for environmental and related impacts and develops alternative supply portfolios that balance human, environmental and recreational needs. She also works collaboratively with partner organizations and state and federal agencies to protect and restore river flows. Ms. Belanger is a licensed professional engineer in Colorado. Previously she worked as a consultant for Headwaters Corporation and Hydrosphere Resource Consultants. She also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala. Ms. Belanger holds a M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado and a B.A. in Social Thought and Political Economy from the University of Massachusetts.
The full WRA report “Fracking our Future, Measuring Water & Community Impacts from Hydraulic Fracking” is available at WRA’s website: http://www.westernresourceadvocates.org/frackwater/
Laura Belanger’s August 2012 presentation to the AWRA Colorado Section can be viewed here: AWRALuncheonBelangerFracking_08282012