Shale gas extraction will not put pressure on water resources and environmental risks will be minimised, according to the firm that represents the UK’s water industry.
Water UK believes the problems associated with fracking “can be mitigated given proper enforcement of the regulatory framework”.
It has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UK Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG) to work together throughout the shale gas exploration and extraction process. They aim to minimise the impact of onshore oil and gas development in the UK on the nation’s water resources.
Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of UKOOG said: “This agreement with Water UK should give reassurance to local communities that the development of shale gas in the UK can proceed with minimal impact upon the local water and waste services.”
Energy Minister Michael Fallon welcomed the agreement saying: “Water UK’s conclusions are encouraging, confirming that shale gas production will not put undue pressure on water supplies and that risks to water supplies can be managed through current regulations.
“It is crucial that shale gas is developed safely and the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the water industry and operators today is a significant step forward in ensuring this.”
Environmental group Greenpeace however believes the agreement won’t solve all problems.
Energy Spokesperson Anna Jones said: “Water is a key concern for people in areas where drilling is proposed, particularly among farmers, who’re worried for their livestock. A voluntary agreement between Water UK and its major new client is unlikely to alleviate these concerns.
“You will never regulate away the risks of fracking. As Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s CEO said earlier this month – ‘there will be accidents; there will be failures’.”