To ensure river and lake levels are conserved for community water supplies and fish and aquatic resources are not impacted, the Commission can and does issue suspensions of short-term water use by the oil and gas industry during drought conditions.
Currently, 65 per cent of water used for oil and gas activities comes from surface water such as lakes and rivers. The remaining 35 per cent comes from recycled water such as flowback fluids from operations or deep groundwater aquifers located more than 800m below the surface. Some water comes from shallow groundwater aquifers between 0-200m underground.
There is an abundance of water in northeast B.C. but it needs to be managed carefully, for example by halting industry water withdrawals during periods of seasonal low flow and drought as the Commission did in both 2010 and 2012. The Commission has also launched hydrology modelling for Northeast B.C. and created a tool that gives water license and permit decision-makers access to stream flow data, water approval data and recognizes water availability for every river or lake in Northeast B.C.