Analysis of the Relationship Between Current Regulatory and Legal Frameworks and the “Produced Water Act”

Published Date:

August 2021


Stephanie Russo Baca, Ambrose Kupfer, Sarah McLain


An overview of the 2019 Produced Water Act is provided with an update on its implementation.

As demand for water in the state of New Mexico continues to rise, produced water reuse or recycling to reduce the impact on freshwater supplies is now encouraged by the Produced Water Act. New Mexico currently has several agencies that regulate produced water: the Oil Conservation Division (OCD) of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD), the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), and federally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Office of the State Engineer (OSE) regulates water rights for all other types of water.

The New Mexico Environment Department held public meetings in October and November 2019, along with representatives from the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department and the Office of the State Engineer, to provide stakeholders with information on produced water and the upcoming rulemaking process. The Produced Water Act provides jurisdictional and legal clarity over produced water use in New Mexico. Furthermore, the new law encourages oil and gas producers to reuse produced water, when possible, rather than to rely on freshwater sources for oil and gas extraction.

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