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Water Use

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Our water management strategy is to minimize water use

We understand the importance water has on maintaining a healthy ecosystem. It is important to our stakeholders and it is important to us.  We are proud of the successes our industry has had in managing water and we are proud of our contribution to that performance.

Initiatives at Athabasca to ensure responsible water use include:

  • During project planning we determine viable alternatives to eliminate or minimize water use
    • If water use is required, we complete a hydrological or hydrogeological assessment of the water source to ensure the water use will be sustainable
  • During operations water volumes are tracked and sources monitored to ensure sustainability
  • Reporting water use is completed externally and internally and provides a basis to evaluate performance and implement measures for improvement

Athabasca's two main sources of water demand are for steam generation at our in-situ Thermal Oil projects and for completions operations in Light Oil.

In Light Oil, we operate water reservoirs that are centrally located within the Greater Placid area. We manage our operations so we only source water during times when water flows are naturally higher, thereby eliminating withdrawals at times that may be more stressful to aquatic systems. We also deploy groundwater monitoring equipment in our source wells to continually manage aquifers, monitor water well performance and ensure regulatory compliance. 

Our Light Oil operations are committed to CAPP's Guiding Principles and Operating Practices for Hydraulic Fracturing and the associate requirements for water management.

    In Thermal Oil, Athabasca sources water from underground reservoirs. The ratio of water we use compared to the bitumen we develop is significantly lower than other extraction techniques. We do not source water from streams, lakes or rivers to produce steam for our SAGD operations.


    Source: Alberta Energy Regulator, Athabasca Oil Corporation


    Source: Alberta Energy Regulator, Athabasca Oil Corporation