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It’s a beautiful time in Oklahoma right now. The reds, yellows and oranges in the falling leaves make this a treasured time of year. And, the dryer the weather, the brighter those fall colors will be.

But that dry weather means we are in a severe drought. And, the oil and natural gas industry, like many others, is feeling the effect. This has producers looking for was to conserve, even recycle, water when they can. 

The Journal Record recently reported about a water recycling plant being built near Geary by Devon Energy Corp. Devon will store and reuse water that is produced from its natural gas wells in the Cana Woodford shale. Work on the plant actually began before the drought, but come just in time to ease Devon’s demand on area water resources.

The plant should be operational early next year. Trucks will transport water back and forth from the plant to wells until a pipeline system can be built.

Most oil and natural gas producers buy the water they need for operations from farm ponds on private land. But, with the lack of rain over the last year, some groundwater has been used. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board says citizens shouldn’t worry the industry is using up their drinking water, though. The majority – 86 percent - of the state’s water resources are used by cities, industrial and irrigation purposes, and thermoelectric power.

Many producers are dealing with the drought through simple conservation.

The Journal Record spoke with Rick Muncrief, senior vice president of operations for Continental Resources who said, "We're reducing the amount of water we use, just as a matter of necessity," Muncrief said.

Some companies are also experimenting with what is known as brackish water. It contains high levels of chlorides and is found below the freshwater base. It is not safe to drink but can be used effectively in drilling operations.

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"We're reducing the amount of water we use, just as a matter of necessity."