Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014CA323B

Regulating the Social and Environmental Costs of Hydraulic Fracturing in California

Institute: California
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $11,981 Total Non-Federal Funds: $1,705

Principal Investigators: Brent Haddad

Abstract: We propose a review and synthesis of the institutional and socioeconomic effects of expanded development of hydraulic fracturing, with particular attention to changes in water resource use and the unique characteristics of water demands in California. The proposed review will assess: 1) the potential impacts from expanded use of hydraulic fracturing in California on the states water resource users, 2) the legal and institutional mechanisms that currently exist to identify, regulate, and mitigate those impacts and 3) possible future government and community action to balance the needs of the environment, existing water users, and the newly expanded energy development sector. Current literature does not address aspects of water use that are important to California. We will focus our review and synthesis on these important gaps including: the effect of hydraulic fracturing on protected fish habitat, constraints on the quantity of water available for alternative uses such as agriculture, possible water source substitution that may affect patterns of water use in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and water quality impacts of hydraulic fracturing. In addition to this review and synthesis, we also propose a series of structured interviews with government regulators, non-governmental organizations, and private stakeholders. These interviews will be designed to identify current legal and institutional mechanisms for managing water quality and water use and identify new challenges for management and interactions between a diverse set of stakeholders.