NMSU researchers join others to address water scarcity issues

Faculty and staff from New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute teamed up with researchers from around the state for a feasibility study on the reuse of produced water last year.
One of the most relevant findings from the study is that the most feasible use of produced water generated from the oil and gas industry is for that industry to reuse its own produced water, as opposed to using fresh water.
“The focus of the project was to understand the opportunities for reusing treated produced water, both in and out of the oil and gas industry, in order to preserve the freshwater aquifers.
Kenneth “KC” Carroll, an associate professor of water resource management in the NMSU Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, said the oil and gas industry in West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico produces large amounts of water.
“Although produced water is a wastewater, it is a large source of available water in a region where water scarcity is impacting agriculture.” Sabie said treatment technology is improving and it is becoming more common for the oil and gas industry to reuse its produced water.
By reusing their own produced water, companies are able to use less costly and semi-mobile regulated treatment plants closer to the oil and gas extraction areas.
Produced water is such an important topic for the industry, engineering, municipalities and regulatory agencies.
“My job was to investigate the treatment technologies and the cost to treat the water,” she said.
He also researched the spatial variability of the produced water quality.
New Mexico State University researchers are studying produced water quality spatial variability and analyzing alternative-source water in the Permian Basin in Southeastern New Mexico and West Texas.

Learn More