Fundamentals of Shale Energy Development: Geology, Hydraulic Fracturing, and Environmental, Geopolitical and Socio-economic Impacts

Lesson 9: Water and Environmental Management for Shale Energy Development

Lesson 9: Water and Environmental Management for Shale Energy Development


As society’s energy demands grow there has been a significant increase in the development of unconventional shale energy resources in the United States. Development and production of these resources require relatively large volumes of water in the hydraulic fracturing process, which also generates brine along with the hydrocarbons. The brine and other wastes generated during drilling, fracturing, and production require proper treatment and disposal to protect human health and the environment. In this lesson, we will learn about water resources and environmental management for shale energy development including the following main topics:

  • Water resource availability
  • Drinking water quality
  • The water-energy nexus
  • Water management practices for shale energy production
  • Potential water quality impacts with shale energy
  • Legacy environmental issues

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Appreciate the availability of water resources and drinking water quality
  • Understand water use for unconventional energy production
  • Recognize potential water quality impact pathways with shale energy development and how to prevent them with best management practices
  • Discuss water resource and environmental issues surrounding shale development with colleagues

Lesson Roadmap

Lesson 9 Roadmap
To Read

To Do
  • Lesson 9 Homework