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Hydraulic Fracturing

As part of our commitment to water quality, Denver Water is closely monitoring the issue of oil and gas operations, including hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking), in the following ways:

  • Reviewing Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and State Land Board quarterly lease sale announcements so we can identify parcels that may have the potential to affect our facilities or watersheds.
  • Participating in the South Park Master Leasing Plan Stakeholder Workshops, to establish a guiding framework and vision for oil and gas leasing and development on federal public lands managed by the BLM.
  • Serving as a member of the Colorado Water Utilities Council (CWUC), which testified at a 2011 hearing in favor of full disclosure to help ensure proper handling and disposal of fracking fluids. New rules requiring full disclosure and identification of constituent concentrations were adopted.

Denver Water has, and will continue to take the necessary actions to protect its watersheds to ensure the safety of our drinking water supplies.

  • Surface water. Regulatory agencies have procedures in place to address surface water quality concerns, and Denver Water relies on these agencies to take appropriate action to reduce spills and mitigate potential impacts. Denver Water also has procedures to respond and protect our water supplies if any type of spill occurs in our watersheds. We have always been vigilant to maintain a significant amount of land area around our facilities to minimize any concerns.
  • Groundwater. All water provided to Denver Water customers is from surface water that originates as mountain snowmelt and rain in the Colorado and South Platte river basins, so groundwater contamination poses a low risk.

A concern expressed by some in our state is the amount of water required for fracking. Denver Water has a long history of asking its customers to conserve 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 less than 2 percent of all the water used in Colorado.