Water and energy are interrelated, and both are critical for society, economic development and the environment. We are committed to minimizing the impacts of our water withdrawals, consumption and discharges.
We recognize some of our operations can use significant amounts of water and we engage with stakeholders regarding their concerns about the use and protection of local water resources. Local requirements and alternatives are considered when sourcing water for our activities, including identifying and managing risks to water availability and quality.
Currently, our major operating sites are located outside of water-short areas as identified in Alberta’s Water Conservation and Allocation Policy.
Our water management strategies include the use of freshwater alternatives such as recycled industrial wastewater and seasonal water management, and maximizing opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle water.
Reduced water requirements at Cold Lake
Over the last 20 years, new technologies in water treatment and re-use have enabled our Cold Lake operations to reduce fresh water consumption by 70 percent for every barrel of bitumen produced, and today more than 95 percent of water used in our Cold Lake operations is recycled. Recent conservation and efficiency improvements have reduced non-saline water consumption by 30 percent.
Reducing freshwater intensity for oil sands
Imperial is a founding member of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), an industry group focused on improvements in environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands through collaborative action and innovation. A focus area for COSIA is to reduce freshwater intensity for in situ oil sands operations and reduce the net water use intensity from the Athabasca River for mineable oil sands. This will require COSIA members to improve water use efficiency and recycle rates within their operations.