LUBBOCK, Texas (NEWS RELEASE) – The following is a press release from Texas Tech University:
As one of the leading agricultural research institutes in the USA Texas Tech University will serve as administrator for the newly formed Texas Produced Water Consortium, a collaborative effort to explore options, alternatives, and potential economic impacts for the billions of gallons of water produced in Texas each year.
Produced water is water that is trapped in underground formations and brought to the surface during oil and gas exploration and production. It is also known as brine, salt water, or formation water. Each year, oil and gas exploration generates more than 800 billion gallons of produced water – 6% of the full storage capacity of all Texas water supply reservoirs.
Presented to the Texas Legislature by Senator Charles Perry and signed by Governor Greg Abbott in June, the consortium will bring together various stakeholders, experts and key information resources to study the economic impact and technology needed to reuse produced water, including Environmental and health aspects.
“As chairman of the Senate Committee on Water, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs, one of my missions was to find new water resources for Texans, and especially our rural and agricultural communities,” said Perry. “Water is a finite resource, and water produced has the potential to bring millions of acre-feet into an area of the state that exists in persistent drought. I am confident that Texas Tech can navigate these new waters through a robust stakeholder process and develop one or more pilot projects to lead the nation in innovation. “
The greatest challenge of produced water is its high salinity. The possibilities of using this water for alternative purposes beyond oil and gas operations were neither fully understood nor exploited. More importantly, alternative uses for produced water could provide significant water resources in areas hit by drought and in dependence on declining water resources, such as the Ogallala Aquifer.
“Texas Tech has long recognized the importance of water resources in sustaining economic growth and the sensitive ecosystems of the Southern High Plains,” said Joseph A. Heppert, Vice President for Research and innovation at TexasTech. “Here in West Texas, we are experiencing first-hand the increasing demands on our country’s water supply. We are developing technologies to provide drinking water to rural communities, and we are working with community stakeholders to adopt these practices and technologies. “
The consortium will be responsible for producing a report outlining a model for the economical and efficient use of produced water that does not harm the public or the environment, resulting in increased use and reduced freshwater footprint in the state of Texas. The report will also include a plan for an economic and technological pilot program for a nationwide facility to recycle produced water.
In addition to the members of the consortium, the Texas Produced Water Consortium will consist of a stakeholder advisory board and an advisory board for the government agency. The Stakeholder Advisory Board will include member representatives from the oil and gas industry, agricultural water users, industrial water users, environmental stakeholders, public water companies, landowners, groundwater owners and commercial water recyclers, and midstream companies.
The government agency’s advisory board includes members of the Texas Railroad Commission, the State Energy Conservation Office, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas Economic Development & Tourism Department, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, the Texas Department of Agriculture, and Texas. belong to the water development council.
Texas Tech will appoint members of a technical and economic steering committee that will provide expertise and determine the direction of future research to be funded by the consortium.
“Texas Tech has the expertise and infrastructure to facilitate the development of the Texas Produced Water Consortium,” said Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech President. “We look forward to the opportunity to bring together and facilitate round table discussions between government agencies, industry and municipalities about the feasibility and potential challenges of converting produced water into drinking water.”
Texas Tech will be responsible for providing human resources and resources to enable the consortium to perform its duties. It will also consult with the New Mexico Produced Water Research Consortium and its government advisory board on research, data, and other related matters, while also coordinating with other members of state university systems and agencies to provide the necessary resources.
Once the report is produced, the consortium can continue to study the economic, environmental and health aspects of the benefits of produced water and the technology needed to make it safe for wider use.
(Texas Tech University press release)