Water Management

Water2We aspire to be world leaders in water management, producing Canadian energy with no adverse impact on water.


Water is essential to life and must be managed responsibly. COSIA’s Water Environment Priority Area (EPA) aspires to be world leaders in water management, producing Canadian energy with no adverse impact on water. That means achieving a balance between reduced water use and increased recycling rates with potential impacts on water quality and GHG emissions.

The Water EPA has a number of priorities in the in situ and mining sectors including:

  • improving the use and management of all water resources, (fresh, saline and recycled);
  • accelerating the development and commercialization of water treatment technologies for both the mining and in situ sectors;
  • improving existing and developing new steam generation technology that simultaneously reduces GHG intensity, water use, wastewater production and costs for in situ oil sands development;
  • conducting research to ensure the safe, protective release of treated mine water to the Athabasca River watershed.

Performance Goals

In Situ


Reduce freshwater use intensity from 2012 levels by 50 per cent, by 2022.

COSIA members are developing new technologies and sharing best practices to enable further reduction of the impact of their in situ operations on fresh water resources. This Performance Goal singles out fresh water use, rather than saline water, due to its importance to the environment and to other water users in the region.



Reduce the net water use intensity from the Athabasca River and its tributaries by from 2012 levels by 30 per cent, by 2022.

This 30 per cent reduction will be achieved while adhering to sustainable water management principles of ‘reduce-recycle-reuse-return’ for all mine sites, more specifically:

  1. Optimizing water reduction and recycling opportunities while balancing the net environmental impact and associated costs of both.
  2. Reducing the amount of water retained in tailings.
  3. Confirming the technical basis for returning treated water to the Athabasca River while meeting all environmental and regulatory requirements.
  4. Understanding and managing the cumulative effects on the Athabasca River watershed. 
  5. Further improving the knowledge and understanding of pit lakes. 

Open Source Innovation

COSIA's Innovation Opportunities provide focused, actionable descriptions of the current state of opportunities related to environmental processes and impacts of the oil sands industry. Case Studies include everything from theoretical papers to lab tests to field trials and everything in between. In Research, you'll find considerable resources in academic literature research, laboratory research and environmental studies.

Collaborate With Us

Our Environmental Technology Assessment Portal (E-TAP) provides an effective means to tap into the global environmental sector for solutions to current and future technology gaps and opportunities. If you have a technology idea you would like to submit on a non-confidential basis to COSIA for consideration then we invite you to submit your idea.