An Assessment of Oil and Gas Water Cycle Reporting in California

Author(s): Feinstein, Laura; Shonkoff, Seth B.C.; Lindsey, Brie

Release Date: November 12, 2021 | Last Updated Date: August 1, 2019

In the context of severe drought, Senate Bill 1281 (2014, Pavley) expanded reporting requirements for the California oil and gas industry regarding produced water—the water extracted from oil and gas production—intending to ensure the ability to assess impacts on California’s water resources, public health, and the environment. Within the Executive Branch, this responsibility falls under the Department of Conservation and its Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR). After two years of data collection, the division—now called the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM)—contracted with CCST to conduct a study to evaluate how well the collected data meet this intent.

The report was guided by an expert steering committee chaired by Mike Kavanaugh, PhD, PE, NAE of Geosyntec Consultants with members from Berkeley Lab, NREL, UCLA, University of the Pacific, Yale, and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority.

Authors from PSE Healthy Energy and the Pacific Institute analyzed water data from 2015 to 2017 and—representing work completed in August 2019—determined the SB 1281 dataset provides an important step forward for managing water use, reuse, and disposal in oil and gas production, and provided recommendations for improvements moving forward.

Additional Downloads

Executive Summary


Cover Letter


One Pager


Phase I Report