More than dozen energy companies drilling in northern B.C. have been fined for not reporting how much water they use.
The energy companies are drawing fresh water from the northern rivers to use in hydro-fracking – a process that uses pressurized water to blast fractures into shale rock formations deep underground, releasing natural gas trapped in the rocks.
This year for the first time, B.C.'s energy companies were required to report how much water they drew from the rivers.
But 16 of about 50 companies failed to report their water use to the Oil and Gas Commission, says spokesman Alan Chapman.
"A number of tickets were issued...and fines were levied.... As I understand it, generally they were not particularly happy receiving tickets and fines," said Chapman.
The Oil and Gas Commission has not released the names of the companies involved, but confirmed a total of 14 companies were eventually issued fines under $1,000 dollars.
That's not much of a penalty, says Ben Parfitt of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
"For companies proposing to invest billions of dollars in various shale gas related projects, that's a tiny tiny amount of money...It is disturbing to see such a high rate of non-reporting," said Prafitt
Still Parfitt says the crackdown obviously worked, noting the latest figures show almost every company is now reporting how much water they use.