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Water is an essential component in many energy resource operations. The largest use of water for oil and gas activities is for hydraulic fracturing. However, water is used for other purposes, such as drilling wells, dust control, freezing winter roads, pipeline testing, and washing equipment. Our water team is responsible for reviewing, assessing, and making decisions on water use.

Our overall goal is to ensure the water needs of the environment and other users are addressed before allocating water for industry use.

This interactive graph covers the annual allocation and actual use of water permitted by the BCER for energy resource activities across the province's water management basins. Each year, the amount of water withdrawn by industry averages 0.004 per cent of the total volume of mean annual runoff in northeast B.C. (NEBC), the heart of oil and gas activity in the province. Runoff is excess water the earth can’t absorb, such as when snow melts and flows into streams, wetlands and lakes.

Learn more about our regulation of energy industry-related water use on our Water Management page.

  • Withdrawal volume submissions from companies are due quarterly by the 25th day of the month following the withdrawal quarter. Additional submissions, corrections and late reporting can lead to changes in data over time and discrepancies compared to published reports.
  • Allocations outside of Northeast B.C. are very small by comparison and spread across multiple basins. These allocations are grouped together.
  • Some permits can lapse without any water withdrawn depending on the company’s operational needs, while other license and withdrawal permits are active but not used monthly.

The Regulator issues non-compliances for late reporting as well as any withdrawals above an operator’s daily, monthly, or yearly allocation limit. When companies withdraw water by way of water licences and short-term use approvals, they must regularly report how much water they withdrew and from which water management basin. This data is summarized and made available to the public in Quarterly Water Management Summary Reports.

Major Water Management Basins in Northeastern BC

The major water management basins in northeastern B.C., the heart of oil and gas activity in the province

Water Use Sites

Locations of short-term water use approvals and water rights licences for energy resource activities in B.C.

Click on the map below to launch in full view: