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Devon could buy Oklahoma City water for operations

OKLAHOMA CITY - Devon Energy is considering purchasing up to 25 million gallons of recycled water a day from Oklahoma City, according to city council memos.

On Tuesday, the council gave the city permission to begin negotiating a deal with Devon, which plans to use the water for "exploration and development operations."

"This is the first time this has taken place," said city spokeswoman Debbie Ragan. "It's a way we can conserve our resources and recycle our treated wastewater."

Oklahoma City's wastewater is typically treated and returned to the environment, Ragan said.

An agreement would be a way to get more use out of the water and more money.

"That money would benefit us in the way of financial resources, operations and some capital needs," she said, declining to discuss specifics. "It would add resources into our budget."

On average, the Deer Creek and Chisholm Creek plants hold 17 million gallons a day.

The North and South Canadian treatment plants, which Ragan said could also be used in an agreement, hold an average flow of about 45 gallons a day.

The plans also call for a new pipeline to transport recycled water from the city's Deer Creek and Chisholm Creek treatment plants to operating areas in Blaine, Canadian and/or Kingfisher counties.

Ragan said Devon would likely carry all costs of the pipeline.

Jeremy Boak, director of the State Geological Survey, said pipelines are generally safe and the potential volume of water transported could be significant.

"If it's entirely for doing hydraulic fracturing, that's quite a bit of water," he said. "It means they're anticipating having quite a few rigs operating. The percentage of wells that are hydraulically fractured has gone up substantially. It's a fundamental piece of oil and gas industry practice."

Devon Energy has released the following statement regarding the negotiations:

"As part of a comprehensive approach to water conservation and stewardship, Devon is exploring opportunities with the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust that could result in the company incorporating recycled wastewater into its operations. We are unable to discuss further details at this time."