For those of you in the water treatment and recycling business, the New Mexico legislature recently passed ground-breaking legislation for water conservation advocates.
New Mexico House Bill HB546 cleared the path in 2019 for water recycling going forward, by voiding agreements or covenants which require the operator to use fresh water, if more suitable recycled or brackish water is available and the operator wants to use it. The new legislation in essence voids agreements whose terms are deemed counter to Public Policy and the state of New Mexico’s intent to encourage recycling and produced water reuse. The operator still has choices, but they can’t have their hand forced to use freshwater, if more viable sources are available to them. HB 546 is applicable to transactions taking place July 1,2019 and later.
And, in separate but closely related recent legislation which was approved last week (Chapter 15 Oil and Gas. Part 16 Drilling and Production 18.104.22.168), New Mexico Operators will now be required to report both the amount of water they are using for hydraulic fracturing and the nature of that water, on a monthly basis:
- Oil and Gas Produced Water (PW)
- Not PW; having 10,000+ mg/l TDS
- Not PW; having 1,000+ – <10,000 mg/l TDS (also called “brackish” water)
- Not PW; having M 1,000 mg/l TDS (also called “fresh” water)
Now that a “water report card” will become public information, it will be interesting to see if the pace of recycling is accelerated in New Mexico, and whether other States follow New Mexico’s lead.
We are placing our bets on the former. Transparency (and the school of public opinion) are great motivators!