Postmedia: Projects focus on water stewardship

via: Projects focus on water stewardship, CAPP, Postmedia, Feb. 28, 2013

When energy producer Encana was seeking water management strategies for its Two Island Lake hydraulic fracturing operations in British Columbia’s Horn River Basin, the primary goal was to have the least-possible impact on surface water.

“We were fortunate to identify the Debolt formation, a deep, non-potable aquifer containing saline water, unsuitable for human or agricultural use,” says Mike Forgo, Encana’s Vice-President of Business Services & Stakeholder Relations. “This type of formation is not available in many areas of B.C.”

The discovery led to a project with peer company Apache to design and build the Debolt Water Treatment Plant and develop the formation as a water source reservoir – the first of its kind in Canada.

It took a great deal of innovation and collaboration to tap this unique resource, but the effort brought a significant payoff. Some 98 per cent of water needed for both companies’ operations at Two Island Lake now comes from this saline source.

Combined with systems that allow for full recovery and re-use of fracturing fluids, the result is a development with minimal draw on surface water and a low environmental footprint.

The strategy that led to the Debolt find is helping to lower surface water use in other areas of the province. In the Montney play in northeastern B.C., Encana is currently developing a water-handling and distribution hub using subsurface water sources.

“We understand that unconventional resource development is water-intensive,” Mr. Forgo says. “Encana, and the oil and gas industry, is taking proactive steps to address concerns and produce in as responsible a manner as possible.”

THE TRUCK STOPS HERE

In keeping with its global objective, Shell Canada is constantly developing new technologies and processes to conserve water in all of its operations, and it is working with communities to address challenges and concerns.

When the company began operations west of Dawson Creek, B.C., the local community raised two issues: water use and truck traffic. Shell listened to the concerns of citizens and developed a water management strategy which focuses on recycling as well as a partnership with the City of Dawson Creek for a reclaimed water facility. This facility processes sewage waste water from the community that was formerly released into Dawson Creek.

A 48-kilometre pipeline from the plant transports the treated water to Shell’s operations in the Groundbirch gas field, where it is combined with recycled production water and used in the hydraulic fracturing process. The result is the virtual elimination of the use of surface water.

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Treehugger : 5 Ingenious ways humans move water

Sometimes it’s not the lack of water that causes problems but the difficulties in reaching the nearest water source that can send societies scrounging. But for centuries, inventive city planners have found ways to work around that challenge, moving mass amounts of water over incredible distances. Read on to see some of the most brilliant ways – both ancient and modern – that humans have found to control their water supply.

Water is not always an easy thing to move: it’s heavy, it can become unsanitary, and there are limited ways to carry it. The most effective way to transport water is by re-routing it, since large-scale overland systems can result in massive environmental damage (even when it’s bottled)–though as you’ll see in the technologies below, even ground transport can be made easier, greener, and healthier.

c. 312 B.C.-226 A.D.: Roman Aqueducts
The Roman Empire is still known for its engineering marvels, including its aqueduct system, in which 11 tunnels carried water to the city from as far away as 60 miles. The underground lead or concrete pipes followed an almost level grade—except where U-shaped dips, called siphons, helped the water flow uphill—and tanks scattered along the route purified the water.

c. 1859: Finding the Ismalia Canal
While building the Suez Canal through Egypt to connect India and Western Europe, a parallel canal—the Ismailia Canal—was built between the Nile River and Lake Timsah. This freshwater source also branched out toward the north and south, providing clean drinking water to the villages and workers along the Suez route.

c. 1909: Honor Oak Reservoir
The Honor Oak Reservoir, brick-built underground in London by Thames Water, becomes the largest service reservoir—meaning that the water it collects is safe for drinking—in the world at that time. Still in use, it holds enough water for 800,000 people and provides enough above-ground space for a golf course.

c. 2006: The Hippo Roller
The Hippo Roller gives African villagers a break from transporting 5-gallon buckets of water on their heads by providing a grounded alternative: Each UV-stabilized, 20-gallon barrel can be rolled from river to town, cutting back on the health issues incurred by the old system while moving five times as much water.

C. 2008: Back to Aquaducts…Sort of
The Aquaduct water-filtering bike allows the rider to pedal to a water supply, load up the cycle with 20 gallons of water (enough for a family of four’s daily usage), and ride home; meanwhile, the pedaling action engages a pump that cleans the water while it’s transported.

More on the water crisis from TreeHugger.com :
How to Go Green: Water
Peak Water
Global Warming Will Worsen West’s Water Crisis in Coming Years