Thursday, December 24, 2009

Water rights 101 for gas producers


Using the focus on hydraulic fracturing to expand on the idea of water as a limiting constraint in energy production...

According to the Congress & Law Blog, "gas producers must arrange to procure the large volumes of water required for hydraulic fracturing in advance of their drilling and development activity". Congress & Law then proceeds to detail the law applicable for the acquisition of water rights in the Eastern USA (globally riparian - Professor Tarlock is even referenced!).

This is a clear example of the issues gathered under the idea of Water Energy Nexus, where increases in demand for energy increase demand for water, and increases in demand for water increase demand for energy, thereby doubling the acceleration towards unsustainable levels of natural resources exploitation.

Interestingly, water scarcity does not seem to be a physical constraint on energy production in the relatively water abundant Eastern USA. However, the legal framework determining access to water acts as the constraint on productive inputs.

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