On May 19th, 2004, the Alberta Environmental Appeal Board released its decision on the appeal of Capstone Energy Ltd.’s Preliminary Certificate to divert water from the Red Deer River and, in so doing, it entered the policy debate over the use of fresh water for enhanced oil recovery. In its decision, the Board held that"…when fresh water, regardless of its source, is injected into the ground for the purposes of oilfield injection, it is for all practical purposes lost--it is lost to us, it is lost to our children, and in this case, our children’s children for thousands of generations to come." Understandably, the Capstone case has become a lightning rod for water issues such as the appropriate uses for fresh water and the competition for water between the oil and gas industry and municipalities and agriculture.

type Case Comment - Access to Fresh Water for Enhanced Oil Recovery: A New Paradigm