Risks to water supplies posed by shale gas exploration and extraction
There has been much publicity recently over the potential reserves of shale gas in the UK. While these are still at the exploratory stage in the UK, in the US the technique used for extraction of shale gas (known as 'fracking' or hydraulic fracturing) has been associated with risks to drinking water sources. There are also risks to water companies from waste materials and competing demands for water resources.
There is a mixed evidence base on the magnitude of the risks involved but some acceptance that they do exist. Although water companies would not wish to hinder economic development, the risks to water supplies (in particular drinking water supplies) need to be addressed.
This position paper explores the risks associated with shale gas extraction and suggests how legislation or regulation could be used to supplement good working practice.
Risks to water supplies posed by shale gas extraction
Water UK policy position