Goals and Objectives

Over the past decade, New Mexico has been recognized as one of the leaders in the U.S. in pursuing the reuse of produced water to supplement fresh water supplies and reduce or eliminate the use of fresh water in oil and gas development. Past research studies have looked at treatment for flow augmentation of the Pecos River, rangeland rehabilitation, agricultural irrigation, algal biofuels production, and even beer making. These efforts were all focused on supporting a more sustainable fresh water management approach in New Mexico, a state with limited fresh water resources that has seen significant reductions in average annual precipitation over the past century.

In order to establish science-based regulations and policies for the reuse of produced water outside the oil and gas sector, the NMED entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with New Mexico State University (NMSU) in September 2019 to create the New Mexico Produced Water Research Consortium (NMPWRC or Consortium). The goal of the Consortium is to establish and coordinate a focused research and development program in collaboration with state and federal environmental and natural resource agencies, academia, industry, and non- governmental organizations (NGO’s) to: 1) fill scientific and technical knowledge gaps necessary to establish regulations and policies for fit-for-purpose treatment and reuse of produced water, and 2) accelerate technology and process research, development, and implementation for environmentally sound, safe, and cost-effective reuse of produced water for industrial, construction, agricultural, rangeland, livestock, municipal, aquifer storage, surface water, and/or other applications.