The Canadian Water Network (CWN) has released a paper on water and hydraulic fracturing that summarizes what is known about water and hydraulic fracturing in Canada, what is most needed to be known and what areas should be targeted for research. The CWN is a group of academics from major Canadian universities that connects water researchers and decision-makers engaged in water management issues.

In 2013, CWN established a national program of five projects with researchers from across Canada conducting reviews that considered the key questions related to hydraulic fracturing and water being asked by decision-makers. The projects assessed the most relevant knowledge gaps in the context of advancing priority decisions and identified opportunities for research to better inform them. Each team approached the overall task from the vantage point of one of the following four management focus areas:

  • watershed governance and management approaches for resource development, including Aboriginal issues;
  • groundwater and subsurface impact issues;
  • wastewater handling, treatment and disposal; and
  • landscape impacts of development/operations on surface water/watersheds.

The CWN’s report provides a high-level framing of the state of knowledge in Canada about water and hydraulic fracturing.

Not surprisingly, the state of knowledge varies across the country given the general familiarity with petroleum development in Western Canada and a general lack of experience and data pertaining to hydraulic fracturing elsewhere.

A copy of the CWN’s report can be found