As part of our commitment to water quality, Denver Water is closely monitoring the issue of hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking) in Colorado.
Does Denver Water have concerns with fracking near its water supplies and the potential effect on water quality?
Denver Water takes its water quality and safety very seriously. Each year more than 10,000 samples are collected and nearly 50,000 tests are conducted to ensure Denver's water is as clean and safe as possible. We vigilantly safeguard our mountain water supplies, and before the water reaches your tap, it’s carefully filtered and treated.
As part of our commitment to water quality, Denver Water is closely monitoring the issue of hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking) in Colorado:
- Denver Water is a member of the Colorado Water Utilities Council (CWUC), which has been involved in providing comments on changes in fracking rules.
- Denver Water, as part of the CWUC, testified in favor of full disclosure of all fracking materials at a hearing Dec. 5, 2011. Full disclosure is necessary to help ensure proper disposal of those materials and project water resources. The result of the hearing was successful. New rules requiring full disclosure and identification of constituent concentrations were adopted. These comments, and those of other parties, can be viewed at the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission's website under “Hydraulic Fracturing Disclosure Rulemaking."
What are the potential water quality concerns?
Water utilities in general are concerned about fracking fluids and wastewater from fracking.
The majority of the fracking occurring in Colorado is far away from Denver Water’s watersheds and reservoirs. Denver Water has always been vigilant to maintain a significant amount of land area around our facilities to ensure that any kind of surface water quality concerns are minimized. When these types of oil and gas extractions occur, Denver Water has, and will continue to take the necessary actions to protects its watershed and curtail the activity before it starts. This is evidenced by recent actions taken by Denver Water in Park County to protect Antero Reservoir.
All water provided to Denver Water customers is from surface water that originates as mountain snowmelt in the Colorado and South Platte river basins, so groundwater contamination poses a low risk to Denver Water and its customers.
What about the impact the water available for residents?
A concern expressed by some in our state is the amount of water required for fracking in Colorado. Denver Water has a long history of asking its customers to Use Only What You Need and cares how water in Colorado is allocated among the various competing needs. The Colorado Oil and Gas Commission estimates that fracking accounts for 0.4 percent of all water in the state. By comparison, Denver Water serves 25 percent of the state’s population with just 2 percent of the state’s water.
Denver Water does not have any plans to sell water for hydrofracturing, or fracking.