Mining water use

"Water use during quarrying rocks and extracting minerals from the land." (United Nations Publications, 2013)


United Nations Publications. "Glossary of Shared Water Resources (English-Arabic): Technical, Socioeconomic and Legal Terminology." (2013). DOI:

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Local Perspectives Case Studies

Need for water quality data to monitor effects of mining and industrial use of water near Lake Athabasca, Canada

Tar Sands - Photo by Garth Lenz
The community is nestled on the northwest shore of Lake Athabasca and downstream of tar sands/mining extraction and hydroelectric dams. The challenge the community faces is the lack of data on the industry water use and how that is or will affect the community in the future. There is a need for data that will help with informed decision making for active stewardship and monitoring. We have estimated that it will cost about 17 billion dollars in liability if reclamation and remediation is not done to bring back the boreal ecosystem. Therefore, we need data to aid in decision-making and adaptive management to determine whether the current management practices and solutions are effectively working. This could be data on biodiversity, for example of benthic vertebrates to access the health of the water ecosystems and also water quality. Currently we do not have such data. Right now, they are doing progressive reclamation where they are revegetating as they are mining but we cannot evaluate whether this is successful or not. We do not know if the species they are using for revegetation are improving environmental quality or not. We need to develop criteria to determine the success of reclamation by evaluating if specified targets are met with a particular time period and if these are not met then identify what could be done differently – adaptative management.