• What is produced water?
For every barrel of oil produced from a well, approximately 10-15 barrels of water come up with the oil, thus the name “produced” water. As a byproduct of oil and natural gas extraction this water has historically been discarded as unnecessary. But, if we filter water every day for reuse, why not filter and reuse produced water?
Reusing water has proven increasingly more important in light of California’s recent drought and today’s technologies allow for responsible, economical ways to treat and reuse this valuable resource. In addition, both the State Water Resources Control Board and the Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) have published resolutions encouraging water recycling and the beneficial reuse of oilfield produced water.
• How is produced water reused?
Several scientific processes are employed today that successfully remove natural impurities to make water reusable. In the same way, produced water can also be recycled for reuse, including watering crops and generating power. For example, here in Kern County around 45,000 acres of farmland are irrigated thanks to more than 10 billion gallons (31,000 acre feet) of produced water brought to the surface from oil extraction.
Valley Water operations are governed by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, which has strict regulations in place to ensure produced water is aptly treated and meets standards set by permit requirements before use in other applications.