Joint Online Water Monitoring Debuts in Colorado

An Internet-based groundwater monitoring technology was introduced in Colorado in a joint effort by a university researcher, oil/natural gas operator, environmental group, and the state.

Colorado Water Watch is the first of its kind and will supplement groundwater testing that companies already perform to comply with state law, said Ken Carlson, the project leader and an associate civil and environmental engineering professor at Colorado State University (CSU).

The new service, which will expand its monitoring locations threefold by the end of the year, has been funded by Noble Energy Inc. and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). They participate on a project steering committee along with the Western Resources Advocates environmental group.

Carlson said his CSU team designed and applied a systematic approach to plan and execute the real-time monitoring. Team members obtained scientifically valid and reliable results that he said can be easily applied to support a large-scale implementation.

“Basically, we look for any evidence of oil/gas activity, and if it is found, the COGCC takes over using its normal protocol,” Carlson said after the service was previewed at a CSU Natural Gas Symposium in Denver.

“Monitoring Water Quality in Areas of Oil and Natural Gas Development: A Guide for Water Well Users” is available in PDF format at

NGWA has developed recommendations for testing well water before and after gas and oil production to monitor any changes in water quality related to hydraulic fracturing fluids. Click here to read NGWA’s information brief, Water Wells in Proximity to Natural Gas or Oil Development.