WAT-2008-01 Coalbed Methane Stream Depletion Assessment Study – Piceance Basin, Colorado


This is the second of a series of coalbed methane (CBM) stream depletion assessment studies made in collaboration with S.S. Papadopulos & Associates, Inc. Focusing on Piceance Basin, located in Moffat, Rio Blanco, Garfield, Mesa, and Delta counties, the report examines the effects of CBM production on water resources. Digital PDF download. WAT-2008-01D

From the Executive Summary:

The Piceance Basin is one of the most productive natural gas basins in the U.S.; however, it is a frontier basin with regards to coalbed methane (CBM) production. Total CBM gas production through 2006 from wells perforated solely in coal seams and located outside of the CBM Exclusion Zone1 was only approximately 22.4 billion cubic feet; corresponding CBM water production was slightly less than 1,200 acre-feet. Nonetheless, there are concerns that the production of water from CBM wells could be resulting in stream depletions or reductions in spring flows that could potentially impact water rights holders, the State of Colorado, and downstream water users not in Colorado. As such, this study evaluates the extent and impacts of CBM water production in the Piceance Basin and assesses the regulatory framework associated with the production of CBM water, the potential for beneficial uses of such water, and the interstate ramifications of the consumptive uses of such water.