Evaluating the Feasibility of Using Produced Water from Oil and Natural Gas Production to Address Water Scarcity in California’s Central Valley
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Guangwei Huang and Xin Li
Received: 30 October 2016 / Revised: 9 December 2016 / Accepted: 12 December 2016 / Published: 14 December 2016
The current California drought has reduced freshwater availability, creating tensions between water users across the state. Although over 518 million m
of water were produced during fossil fuel production in California in 2014, the majority was disposed into Class II injection wells. There have been few attempts to assess the feasibility of using produced water for beneficial purposes, due in part to the difficulties of accessing, synthesizing and analyzing data regarding produced water quality and quantity. This study addresses this gap and provides a techno-economic assessment of upgrading produced water from California’s oil and natural gas activities and moving it to adjacent water-stressed regions. Results indicate that the four population centers facing the greatest water shortage risk are located in the Central Valley within a 161 km (100 mile) radius of 230 million m
of total treatable produced water. This volume can supply up to one million people-years worth of potable water. The cost of desalinating and transporting this water source is comparable in magnitude to some agricultural and local public water supplies and is substantially lower than bottled water. Thus, utilizing reverse osmosis to treat produced water might be a feasible solution to help relieve water scarcity in some drought-stricken regions of California.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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MDPI and ACS Style
Meng, M.; Chen, M.; Sanders, K.T. Evaluating the Feasibility of Using Produced Water from Oil and Natural Gas Production to Address Water Scarcity in California’s Central Valley. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1318.
Meng M, Chen M, Sanders KT. Evaluating the Feasibility of Using Produced Water from Oil and Natural Gas Production to Address Water Scarcity in California’s Central Valley. Sustainability. 2016; 8(12):1318.
Meng, Measrainsey; Chen, Mo; Sanders, Kelly T. 2016. "Evaluating the Feasibility of Using Produced Water from Oil and Natural Gas Production to Address Water Scarcity in California’s Central Valley." Sustainability 8, no. 12: 1318.
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