Framework for Implementation

At a Glance
  • Environmental and water regulations should enforce a zero tolerance policy on environmental waste and discharge of effluents in order to prevent contamination, straining of available fresh water sources, or alteration of the course or flow rate of existing water sources. 
  • It is fundamental to ensure that an institutional setting that enforces and monitors water rights is in place. 
  • For any extractive initiative to be viable and sustainable, a water tariff must be payable.
  • A company is unlikely to consider sharing any water infrastructure if it must carry out the operation and maintenance of a water system outside of the project site once it has financed and/or procured the construction of water supply or water treatment facilities.

Proposing and implementing programs to achieve sharing of water resources and infrastructure is a complex undertaking. There are a number of preconditions required to ensure success and sustainability in any arrangement:

Legal and regulatory framework: Environmental and water regulations should enforce a zero tolerance policy on environmental waste and discharge of effluents, and limit the quantities and sources of fresh water that companies can extract, in order to prevent a strain on available fresh water sources or contamination and alteration of the course or flow rate of existing water sources. This includes ensuring that strict environmental regulations are in place that impose strict penalties for environmental degradation and contamination of water sources, and a comprehensive water licensing regime for the allocation of water rights among competing users.

Ensure institutional setting that enforces and monitors water rights is in place. It is fundamental to ensure that an institutional setting that enforces and monitors water rights is in place. This will require i) clear information on hydrological data on existing water resources, user demands on existing water resources, and a baseline study of water quality from which to monitor changes   in water, among other types of information; ii) efficient coordination among relevant ministries and agencies; iii) institutional capacity to monitor water usage and compliance with environmental best practice; and iv) institutional presence and capacity to supply water.

Full cost recovery reflected in water tariff. For any extractive initiative to be viable and sustainable a water tariff must be payable. While full cost recovery may not always be feasible, given that certain segments of the population are   unable to pay, at a minimum, the water tariff should include the cost of operating and maintaining a water system.

Sustainability of water infrastructure. A company is unlikely to consider sharing any water infrastructure if it must carry out the operation and maintenance of a water system outside of the project site once it has financed and/or procured the construction of water supply or water treatment facilities. In such a scenario, provision of water supply services by an extractives company could be as part of its CSR policy, i.e. by financing low cost water supply and treatment technologies.[1]

View footnotes

[1] Toledano et al., A Framework to Approach Shared Use of Mining-Related Infrastructure, 68

Key Resources