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$1 million pledge kickstarts New Mexico Produced Water Research Consortium

New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Environment Department were joined Oct. 1 by state officials from around the country, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency representatives, industry leaders, environmental groups, legislators and others for an event celebrating the creation of the New Mexico Produced Water Research Consortium.



New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Environment Department were joined Oct. 1 by state officials from around the country, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency representatives, industry leaders, environmental groups, legislators and others for an event celebrating the creation of the New Mexico Produced Water Research Consortium. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

The newly created consortium is a public-private partnership designed to help New Mexico in continuing to lead the country in advancing scientific and technological solutions related to the treatment and reuse of produced water generated by the oil and gas industry.

During the event, NGL Energy Partners Executive Vice President of Water Solutions Doug White announced the company would pledge $1 million to the consortium’s efforts.

“It is well-recognized that New Mexico is leading the country in the reuse and recycling of produced water,” said Mike Hightower, program director for the consortium.

Contributions like these from federal government, non-governmental organizations and industry will be used to continue New Mexico’s leadership in filling scientific and technical gaps related to the reuse and treatment of produced water outside of the oil and gas industry.

“We want to be, first of all, scientifically rigorous and at the same time to be inclusive,” said NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu. “Those two principles will guide how our organizational structure will go. This is exactly where higher education should be – working with all stakeholders to develop a framework for emerging science and technologies and to fill the knowledge gaps necessary to establish science-based policies and rulemaking for reuse and management of produced water.”

The consortium, whose membership will be decided by NMSU, will ensure scientific integrity by using a merit-based peer review process model similar to that used by the National Academies of Science. The research is designed to inform the regulatory process to be conducted by the NMED.

Advances identified and developed as part of the consortium will benefit the state of New Mexico, regional stakeholders and the oil and gas industry. These include the development of a technology framework to guide policy and rulemaking that ensures sustainable management and protection of water resources and opportunities for economic development.