Oil Sands Watch | Pembina Institute


Troubled Waters, Troubling Trends (Full Report)

Published May 1, 2006

By Mary Griffiths (former employee), Amy Taylor, Dan Woynillowicz

Oil sands mining operations in Alberta use large volumes of water from the Athabasca River. Steam injection to produce oil from bitumen that is too deep to mine (in situ production) uses increasing amounts of surface water and groundwater. Production of bitumen is expected to triple by 2020, resulting in more water withdrawals, declining wetlands and expanding tailings ponds. Most companies recycle water, so new technology and policies outlined in the report are needed to reduce water use. Alberta's Water Conservation and Allocation Policy for Oilfield Injection, which applies to conventional and thermal enhanced oil recovery, must be strictly implemented.

The summary report is available here.