The Vancouver Sun is reporting some Northeast B.C. residents are questioning government policies, which allow natural gas exploration companies to pump water out of streams and lakes despite the severe drought conditions in the region.
Reporter Scott Simpson says gas exploration company Talisman Energy has been taking water out of the Williston Reservoir – without the knowledge of BC Hydro – at a time when the Crown Corporation is warning, dry conditions will force it to import at least 200 million dollars worth of electricity this year.
He says Talisman has a permit from the BC Oil and Gas Commission to make the withdrawals, and Hydro has referred questions about the situation to the government.
The story notes gas drillers need a steady supply of water to support shale gas exploration and development in the vast Montney gas play.
It quotes Energy Minister Bill Bennett, who was in Fort St. John last week, as saying, “The industry is making efforts to use less water.”
However, it also quotes Will Koop, coordinator for the B.C. Tap Water Alliance, as saying, "The emergence of shale gas exploration has created a tremendous requirement for water in northeast British Columbia.
He’s also reported to believe, "The government doesn’t have a very well-thought-out plan for all of the cumulative effects."
To read the entire article from the Vancouver Sun, click here.