- Shared Use of Extractive Infrastructure and Resource Corridors
- Sharing Water
- Understanding What is at Stake
Understanding What is at Stake
At a Glance
Understanding the relative amounts of water needed for different kinds of extractive operations will help governments make decisions regarding the shared use of water infrastructure.
An important first step for mining and oil and gas project operators is to thoroughly assess existing water resources (in terms of both availability and renewability) and infrastructure where a proposed project will be located.
- A Framework to Approach Shared Use of Mining-Related Infrastructure (Nicolas Maennling, Alpa Shah, Sophie Thomashausen, Perrine Toledano)
- Mapping the Oil and Gas Industry to the Sustainable Development Goals: An Atlas (International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association, International Finance Corporation, United Nations Development Programme)
This resource examines the links between the oil and gas industry and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), supporting a shared ...
Water is of critical importance in mining—and in some forms of oil and gas extraction—and understanding the relative amounts needed for different kinds of extractive projects will help governments understand the potential for sharing the use of water infrastructure.
Figure 1 provides a glimpse of the water intensity of key minerals and metals.
Oil and gas operations can also be water-intensive depending on the methods of extraction. For example, enhanced recovery techniques used in heavy crude oil extraction and in the extraction of unconventional tar sands and shale gas require particularly significant volumes of water. Figure 2 depicts the differences in water use depending on the type of oil and gas extraction.
An important initial step for extractive companies is to make a proper assessment of existing water resources and infrastructure where a potential project will be located. In terms of water resources, information is required about the available water sources and their renewability. This information might include the annual projected rainfall and/or recharge capacity of any underground aquifers, the current and projected demands on those water resources, and the impact of the extractive companies’ operations on those water resources in relation to their stated water requirements. In terms of an operation’s freshwater dependency, at one end, companies either source all their water from freshwater sources (underground or surface water), or at the other end source all their water from other sources (recycled water, seawater, wastewater etc.).
Table 1 describes the reasons why an extractive project might choose to position itself between these two ends:
If a company decides to use its own infrastructure to source water, choosing which water resource to use will be influenced by factors including the volume of water needed, the availability of freshwater resources, local laws, and any corporate-wide policy an extractive project or operation may be subject to.