Paper No. 295-5
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM
THE WELLINGTON MODEL: A LIFE CYCLE COST ANALYSIS OF PRODUCED WATER IN COLORADO TO DETERMINE THE POSSIBILITY OF BENEFICIAL REUSE
Colorado’s rapidly growing population in combination with its inherent aridity and climate change has put an enormous amount of stress on the state’s water resources. New sources of water are needed fill the growing gap between demand and supply. Produced water, the water brought to the surface from oil and gas production, may be such a source. Kern County in California has been irrigating crops with produced water for over 20 years. Recently, a town in Colorado has started using produced water for agriculture and municipal needs as well. Current research is evaluating Wellington, CO as a case study and the economic, social, legal, and technological barriers that were overcome in order to use produced water as an alternative domestic source of water. Using this model, an analysis is undertaken for counties in Colorado that would benefit most from following Wellington’s example. These results will be based on a decision matrix that includes the quantity and quality of produced water, agricultural output, current water needs, social environment, and oil producers occupying each county. A life cycle cost analysis of produced water will also be conducted in the top three most optimal counties for produced water reuse followed by recommendations of how to address the barriers facing these counties with this new source of water. The results of this research will help in the transition between viewing produced water as a waste product and using it as a tool to help secure Colorado’s water future.