GSI Publication: Current Water Management Practices, Challenges, and Innovations for US Unconventional Oil and Gas Development

Authors: A. Smith, S. Richardson, C. Van de Ven
Published: October 2017 in Springer International Publishing.


Recent Findings

Operators continue to face a variety of water management challenges associated with unconventional oil and gas development, including demand for large quantities of fresh (or chemically compatible) water, storage of substantial volumes of produced water, characterization and treatment of water, and water conveyance over potentially long distances. In response, innovations in recycling, reuse, water quality treatment and testing, and infrastructure will change the future of unconventional development, allowing for hydraulic-fracturing techniques using little to no freshwater, reduced waste, and improved cost efficiencies.


Water is a vital commodity to the unconventional resource development industry, yet it presents unique technical, economic, and social challenges for water management strategies. As production from shale gas and tight oil plays continues to grow, the demand for reliable sources of water and the need for innovative management strategies for produced water will, in turn, continue to increase. Recent advances in the use of alternative water sources and produced-water characterization, recycling, and reuse will provide the foundation for future economical unconventional resource development in the US.