Texas Tech University

Texas Produced Water Consortium Delivers Report to Texas Legislature

Allen Ramsey

September 7, 2022


The consortium housed at Texas Tech has given its initial report to state lawmakers for review.

The Texas Produced Water Consortium (TXPWC) on Thursday (Sept. 1) released its preliminary findings in a report to the Texas Legislature, titled “Beneficial Use of Produced Water in Texas: Challenges, Opportunities and the Path Forward.” 

Enacted through Senate Bill 601 in 2021, the consortium was created to bring together stakeholders and other information resources to study the economics, treatment technologies and environmental and public health considerations for beneficially using produced water outside of the oil and gas industry. 

Detailed in the report, the consortium estimates the potential for treating produced water from the Permian Basin could lead to an estimated 2 billion barrels per year (256,000 acre-feet) of treated produced water, with as much as 4 billion barrels per year (511,000 acre-feet) that will potentially be available for use in this arid region of the state. 

“The Texas Legislature is proactively searching for new sources of water to alleviate projected future shortages,” said consortium Executive Director Rusty Smith. “Treating produced water for beneficial use already occurs in other states. If we're able to prove produced water in Texas can be treated to a quality protective of public health and the environment, it could be a game-changer for future generations.”

Pilot projects focusing on the testing and analysis of treated produced water are next on the horizon for the TXPWC. 

Smith sees great value in the ability of these projects to provide more data on achievable water qualities and economics related to the beneficial use of treated produced water. 

“We are working to develop requests for proposals to identify and select pilot projects in the coming months, as well as continuing our current work in discussing public policy and regulatory approaches to beneficial use,” he said. “I'm extremely proud of everything the members and staff of the consortium have achieved thus far and very excited to see what the next phase holds for us.”

The TXPWC is a membership-based organization housed within the Office of Research & Innovation at Texas Tech University, comprised of stakeholders from oil and gas, environmental non-government organizations, other academic institutions, municipal utilities, landowners and agricultural entities among others. You can find more information about the Consortium, as well as access their report to the Texas Legislature, at txpwc.ttu.edu.