Written to provide a general understanding of groundwater principles and the impact they have on the design, construction, and maintenance of groundwater well systems for water utilities, this manual also covers groundwater protection, planning, evaluation efforts and modeling techniques.


Oil and gas development (including hydraulic fracturing) is an industrial activity, and like all industrial activities comes with some risks including accidents, accidental spills, dumping and illegal disposal of wastes and others. Many of these risks are site-specific and cannot be generalized to all locations and situations. These risks include potential for groundwater contamination, potential for surface water contamination, water quantity and water use issues and induced seismicity. 

AWWA's Water and Hydraulic Fracturing white paper (PDF) addresses concerns about hydraulic fracturing – commonly called “fracking” – and its potential risks to water sources. Produced in response to growing public awareness and concern about hydraulic fracturing and related activities in the energy industry, the paper aims to help water utilities understand and communicate about fracking processes, risks and regulations.

Created under the direction of AWWA’s Water Utility Council, the document describes different aspects of the oil and gas development life cycle, the potential for surface water and groundwater contamination, water quantity and use issues, and concerns about the possibility of earthquakes resulting from gas development activity.

As part of its Water and Hydraulic Fracturing white paper project, AWWA has created a brief Q&A for water utility customers. This writable MS Word document, intended for use by water utilities, can be customized as necessary.

AWWA also joined with the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies and the National Association of Water Companies in issuing a Joint Policy Statement on Hydraulic Fracturing (PDF), focused on the protection of drinking water sources and supplies.



Search decades of archived articles published in Journal AWWA and Opflow on this and many other related topics.