This is the first of a series of coalbed methane (CBM) stream depletion assessment studies made in collaboration with S.S. Papadopulos & Associates, Inc. Focusing on the Northern San Juan Basin, located primarily in Archuleta and La Plata counties, the report examines the effects of CBM production on water resources. Digital PDF download. WAT-2006-01D
From the Executive Summary:
The San Juan Basin is the most productive source of coalbed methane (CBM) in North America. Typically, in conjunction with the production of CBM is the production of water. In the San Juan Basin in Colorado there are concerns with the amount, quality, uses, and effects of CBM produced water and with how the production of water may be affecting CBM gas seepage at the surface. Specific to this study, there are concerns that the removal of water from aquifers that may be tributary to the surface stream system 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. For these reasons it was considered important both to evaluate the extent and impacts of CBM water production in the San Juan Basin and to assess 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.