Alberta limits oilsands water use from Athabasca River amid dry spell by Jeremy van Loon, Bloomberg, August 17, 2015, Calgary Herald
Alberta’s energy regulator restricted applications by oil and natural gas operators to withdraw water from the Athabasca River amid dry conditions in the province.
Restrictions for temporary diversion licences have also been put in place for the South Saskatchewan, the Peace and Milk rivers, the Alberta Energy Regulator said on its website Monday. The regulator is also calling for voluntary restrictions from existing operators.
The Athabasca River, which is fed by glaciers and streams in the Rocky Mountains, requires about 900 cubic metres per second of water in the summer when the flow is at its peak in order to maintain healthy ecosystems, the Alberta Environment said on its website. The flow earlier this month was 557 cubic metres per second.
Alberta and other western Canadian provinces have suffered from above-normal temperatures this summer after a spring with less precipitation than normal, said Alberta Agriculture. Forest fires have raged across British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, halting some oil production earlier this year. [But, the fracing goes on and on and on, destroying aquifers, water wells, property, businesses, health, and prosperity in Alberta]
Oilsands miners use water to process bitumen, and have pledged to lower by half the amount of fresh water used in production as the industry counters criticism that it pollutes too much.
Members of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, or COSIA, including Suncor Energy Inc. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, aim to lower the amount of fresh water used to process bitumen to 0.2 barrels per barrel of bitumen by 2022 from 0.4 now, the group said on Nov. 25. [Emphasis added]