Access to Water for Hydraulic Fracturing in China

  • Libin Zhang
  • Sheng ShaoEmail author
  • Fang Dong
  • Jiameng Zheng
Part of the Water Security in a New World book series (WSEC)


China is very ambitious in developing shale gas. To develop this unconventional natural gas resource requires hydraulic fracturing, which is a process to stimulate well production. Hydraulic fracturing operations use massive volumes of water, while most shale gas reserves in China are located where there are water shortage issues due to either seasonal drought or high demand for local domestic water. This Chapter discusses how shale gas developers may acquire water for hydraulic fracturing and some regulatory matters relevant to this water-energy nexus. Under the state ownership rule, shale gas developers may only have water use rights. Developers may acquire water by abstracting with a license or buying from water suppliers. The national water exchange can be another option to obtain water rights from other water abstraction license holders, although no such transaction has been made yet. Government may curtail water access for fracking and the public may challenge through different ways, but no such case is available. It is expected that a more robust regulatory practice is ahead along with the development of industry as well as the growth of water-energy tension.


China Hydraulic fracturing Water acquisition Scarce water 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Libin Zhang
    • 1
  • Sheng Shao
    • 2
    Email author
  • Fang Dong
    • 3
  • Jiameng Zheng
    • 4
  1. 1.Broad & BrightBeijingChina
  2. 2.Sunshine Law FirmHangzhouChina
  3. 3.PowerChina Resources, Ltd.BeijingChina
  4. 4.The University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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