Water is a high-value commodity and COSIA’s Water Environment Priority Area (EPA) is looking for innovative and sustainable solutions to reduce water use and increase water recycling rates at oil sands mining and in situ operations in order to achieve our Aspiration to “be world leaders in water management, producing Canadian energy with no adverse impact on water.

A key step towards achieving our Aspiration is to achieve COSIA’s first two Performance Goals for in situ and mining water use. These Performance Goals state that COSIA in situ and mining operators will strive to:

What are we targeting?

In Situ

Reduce freshwater use intensity by 50 per cent by 2022.

Learn More
In Situ


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

Learn More

The Water EPA has also identified additional key issues facing the industry and is working to address the following:

  • improving the use and management of all water resources, fresh, saline and recycled;
  • creating a collaborative regional water management solution that links mining and in situ supply/demand;
  • accelerating the development and commercialization of water treatment technologies;
  • developing game-changing steam generation technology to reduce water used to produce steam for in situ oil sands development; and
  • managing salt accumulation in water streams on mine sites during active mining.

COSIA’s Water Performance Goals

COSIA’s Water Performance Goals are focused on reducing fresh water use intensity in the oil sands.

Performance Goals are intensity based measures, meaning the chosen metric is presented in relation to one barrel of bitumen produced. This means that over time, irrespective of variations in overall bitumen production, interested parties can quickly and easily see whether COSIA members are collectively using more or less water when producing their bitumen. Performance against the goals will be reported publicly on an annual basis with COSIA members aiming to achieve it by 2022. This time frame will allow the companies to be ambitious while having the necessary time to develop the new technologies and processes required to be successful.

COSIA’s Water Challenges

The Water Environmental Priority Area has identified COSIA Challenges to help mobilize the minds and resources of external stakeholders and global solutions providers and allow it to achieve its Aspiration to ‘be world leaders in water management, producing Canadian energy with no adverse impact on water’.

To find out more about the purpose of COSIA Challenges and how you can help meet them, please click here.

Water Projects

Through joint industry projects (JIPs) the members of the Water EPA are developing new technologies and conducting research.

These JIPs will directly contribute to the achievement of the Water EPA’s Performance Goal and Aspiration though the closure of the Gaps and the achievement of Opportunity Areas identified in the Water EPA’s planning framework.

Project Research

COSIA, its members and its associate members have invested considerable resources in academic literature research, laboratory research and environmental studies relating to water use, water contamination and decontamination, and water recycling and re-use. You can explore the published findings on Water here.