Oil and gas companies must apply for water allocations from regulators before using water for fracking. Applications typically include: baseline information, an evaluation of local and regional water availability, water requirements, and submission of a water management plan.
Each province’s rules and regulations for allocating water are slightly different. The regulator in British Columbia for example, the Oil and Gas Commission, has a water information website, including a map-based water information tool called the Water Portal, designed to provide public access to a wide range of water-related data and information in northeast British Columbia. Water allocations and water use are shown across the region and reports are generated with information on water licenses, water source wells and volume of water used in fracking.
In Alberta, industry operators are required to specify the amount of water to be used based on present and reasonable need. Each request requires an operator to apply for a license from the regulator, which is reviewed for its potential impacts on other water users and on the aquatic environment, among other considerations.