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Produced Water Ownership Survey

The Legal and Regulatory Affairs Committee conducted a survey of the member states and provinces in order to provide a summary on how individual states are legally and regulatorily addressing produced water. This summary is available to the public as a learning tool for how individual states and provinces are regulating, handling or otherwise managing produced water as a by-product of oil and gas exploration and production.

Water laws are broadly differentiated by region, due to the surplus of the resource in the east and the scarcity of the resource in the west. Accordingly, the same appears to be true with produced water laws, as the survey results highlight a similar geographical delineation for how produced water is regulated based on the region. Click on the states and provinces below to review their produced water laws, regulations and rules as they pertain to oil and gas exploration and production.

Disclaimer: Reasonable efforts have been taken to ensure that the information provided on this site is accurate. However, due to the evolving nature of regulatory development, no guarantees for the currency or accuracy of information can be made. This disclaimer applies to both isolated and aggregated publications of information.

Geographical Differences with Water

State/Provincial Summaries of Produced Water Ownership

Below is a summary table of the member states and provinces produced water ownership.
Click each state/ province for a complete review of their survey responses
* = States with no response

States and Provinces

     Who holds the right to water that has
not yet been produced?


     Who holds the right to water after it has been brought to the surface?





Other (specify)





Other (specify)

AlaskaPossession, Use     Possession, Use  
* Arizona


ArkansasPossession, UsePossession, UseUse See full review for
detailed water rights
  Possession, UsePossession, Use Possession, Use  See full review for
detailed water rights
* California         
* Colorado         
* Florida         
* Georgia         
* Idaho         
* Indiana         
* Kansas         
Kentucky Possession, Use      Possession, Use  
Louisiana       Possession, Use  
* Maryland         
MichiganUseBy lease agreementOnly as a landowner  Possession and Use
by agreement only transferring liability
Possession, Use  
Mississippi  Possession, Use   Possession, Use   
* Montana         
Nebraska      Possession, Use  
Nevada  Possession, UseAll water within the boundaries of the state, whether above or beneath the surface of the ground, belongs to the public and is subject to appropriation for beneficial uses.    Possession, Use

The holder of a water right is the owner of the water. Does not grant access or easement to use of the water.
New Mexico      Possession, Use  
New YorkPossessionUseUseThe mineral lease holder has accesss to use of the water.  Possession, UseUseThe mineral lease holder has access to possess and use the water.
* North Carolina         
North Dakota Rights by the mineral lease.Possession, Use   Possession, UsePossession 
Ohio Possession, Use    Possession, Use  
OklahomaPossession, Use     Possession, Use  
* Oregon         
* South Carolina         
South Dakota         
* Tennessee         

Possession, Use

Operator also has
disposal rights.

Utah Use - to the extent that underground water is kept in the industrial process and is not yet appropriated by the State Engineer.PossessionUse - other rights subject to adjudication and appropriation by the State Engineer.  Use - to the extent that produced water is kept in the industrial process and is not yet appropriated by the State Engineer.PossessionUse - other rights subject to adjudication and appropriation by the State Engineer.
Virginia   Public has the right to use and possess.     
* Washington         
West Virginia         
Wyoming  Possession, Use   Possession, UsePossession, Use 


  Possession, Use

Whoever owns the PNG rights can possess and use produced water in accordance with the mineral right tenure. Untenured mineral rights belong to the government. 

Can also store and dispose.

  Possession, Use  
Northwest  Territories         
* Nova Scotia         
Saskatchewan  Possession, Use    Possession, Use 
* Yukon