top of page

WHY IS OUR WATER
UNDER ATTACK?

According to Laura Capper, oil and gas industry consultant, “New Mexico needs to find new uses [for produced water] quickly or risk oil production itself.” - Current Argus, July 12, 2023

Oil and gas industry representatives and their allies in business and government are trying to scare New Mexicans by arguing that we need to reuse liquid fracking waste because climate change is going to reduce our water supply by 25%. (Ironic coming from them right!!?)

 

But in fact New Mexico leaders have failed to authorize, fund or implement the water saving reforms and policies that an official New Mexico Water Policy and Infrastructure Task Force recommended in 2022. 

The real reason for the headlong rush to approve fracking waste reuse? Earthquakes.

Screen Shot 2024-04-27 at 4.04.59 PM.jpg

​When oil and gas are extracted through hydraulic fracturing - aka fracking - in the Permian basin, each barrel of oil results in 4 -10 barrels of liquid fracking waste (aka "produced water.") Produced water contains significant toxic contaminants, salts and radioactive elements known to severely impact human health. It is a hazardous waste and is not currently permitted for use outside of the oil fields.

Produced Water Evaporation Ponds.jpg

Under current law, oil and gas operators have two choices for disposal - re-use the produced “water” in drilling operations or inject the waste back underground into injection wells. Alternatively, they can store the waste in evaporation ponds, ultimately resulting in a concentrated toxic sludge that is being trucked to landfills all over the state.

INJECTION WELLS INCREASED EARTHQUAKES IN NM TO 2,404 PER YEAR IN 2022

Unfortunately, injection wells are resulting in a dangerous increase in seismic activity- 2,404 quakes in 2022. This seismicity increased as oil production continued its steady rise to about 5.7 million bpd as of May 2023. Because New Mexico has never been earthquake prone, our buildings and infrastructure are not constructed to withstand those quakes.And because New Mexico lacks capacity to dispose of all the waste it is producing, New Mexico has been sending about half of its produced water, at least 2 million barrels a day, into Texas for disposal. But in December 2023 the Texas Railroad Commission, facing its own earthquake dangers, acted to suspend permits for injection wells in Culberson and Reeves counties along the border of the two states.​

Screen Shot 2024-04-27 at 4.32.18 PM.jpg

The oil and gas industry in New Mexico now faces a costly crisis with no immediate solution.

ENTER THE GOVERNOR'S PLAN TO USE PUBLIC FUNDS TO REUSE PRODUCED WATER AKA THE "STRATEGIC WATER SUPPLY"

NMOGA_tw_LujanGrishamQuote1.png

In 2023 Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced her plan to use public money to entice private companies to set up desalination and treatment plants that will facilitate extraction from our deep water aquifers and the so-called “beneficial reuse” of toxic fracking waste for industrial uses initially, and ultimately to “recharge freshwater aquifers and otherwise augment the supply of freshwater for communities, farms, aquatic ecosystems, and interstate compact compliance.”

 

The proposed “Strategic Water Supply” is a dangerous plan to use public money to exploit and poison our water for the private profit of oil and gas executives and shareholders.

Why is the Governor and her administration rushing headlong into fracking waste reuse before it has been proven safe?
The oil and gas industry are her largest donors, contributing upwards of $882,000 between 2017 and 2022. Read more about the Governor's ties to oil and gas.

bottom of page