Sharing Water

At a Glance
  • Without water, a mine cannot operate.
  • As such, considerable investment in water infrastructure is required to ensure a reliable water supply for operations.
  • There is considerable scope for synergies between the water infrastructure needs of mines and onshore oil and gas projects, and the water supply needs of surrounding communities.
  • Shared use of water infrastructure can both minimize the water footprint of operations and leverage a project’s demand for water.

Shared use of water infrastructure refers to both minimizing the water footprint of operations and leveraging a project’s demand for water. This can happen by encouraging investment in reliable and efficient water infrastructure that can, in turn, increase the availability of potable water to communities near the project.

Water is of critical importance in mining and in many forms of oil and gas extraction. Large volumes of water are required at each phase of the mining process to suppress dust, process and mine ore, cool and wash mining equipment, manage waste tailings, and for consumption by mining communities. Without water, a mine cannot operate.

Similarly, water is of critical importance in oil and gas extraction, and is used at all stages of development, extraction, and processing. The development of unconventional oil and gas resources such as tar sands and shale gas are particularly water-intensive. Yet, companies increasingly find themselves operating in water-stressed environments where there is a shortage of fresh water or water availability for the operations is limited by regulation. As such, considerable investment in water infrastructure is required to ensure a reliable water supply for operations. In this context, there is scope for synergies between the water infrastructure needs of mines and onshore oil and gas projects, and the water supply needs of surrounding communities.

Key Resources

See more resources

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