Skip to main content

A NSW Government website

Code of practice for produced water

Produced water is a colloquial term for the extraction of naturally occurring groundwater.

Download Exploration Code of Practice: Produced Water Management, Storage and Transfer (PDF, 919.07 KB).

Exploration licences, special prospecting authorities and assessment leases for all resources (prospecting titles) are granted with the objective of encouraging ecologically sustainable development, social responsibility and building economic wealth for the people of NSW.

Definition of produced water

Certain activities may result in the extraction of naturally occurring groundwater. This extracted groundwater is colloquially referred to as 'produced water'. Produced water can be highly variable in quality, and contain naturally occurring minerals (mainly inorganic) including chloride, carbonates, bicarbonates, sodium and other metals. Organic compounds (typically hydrocarbons) may also occur in relatively low concentrations.

Effect of produced water on the environment

These naturally occurring substances in produced water may cause harm to the environment at certain concentrations. Untreated produced water may also adversely impact vegetation and soil structure due to increased salinity (additional salt loading), sodicity (increase in sodium ratios) and alkalinity (increase in soil pH, associated with carbonates).

Mandatory requirements under the code

This Code of Practice (this Code) sets out mandatory requirements and provides title holders with related guidance about the expected performance for the management, storage and transfer of produced water.