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Oilfields Offer Alternative Water Source for Food Production

water quality  recycled water  oilfield 

Sam Winstel

Sam Winstel
Posted June 10, 2020

For more than 25 years, natural gas and oil producers have been reusing oilfield water to irrigate farms in southern California. This industry-driven approach, which mixes oilfield and surface water, strengthens agricultural output and resource conservation in the drought-prone Cawelo Water District.

The use of oilfield produced water (OPW) for irrigation is permitted under California Water Board policy, and a new study by researchers at Duke University and RTI International confirms that OPW is “of comparable quality to the local groundwater in the region.” The practice, which does not pose major risks to crop or human health, has benefited farmers faced with increasing water shortages.

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