Water stewardship

Water stewardship

We are continuing to find innovative ways to use less water and be more efficient with how we source and discharge it for our operations. We know our approach to water use impacts the environment and is important to the local watersheds in areas where we operate.

Our water stewardship target: reducing fresh water use


Reduce fresh water intensity by 20% in oil sands and in thermal operations by year-end 2030.

We are always looking for ways to further reduce the amount of water we use and be more efficient with how we use it. We’ve set a target to reduce fresh water intensity (the rate at which water is being used) by 20% in our oil sands and in our thermal operations by year-end 2030 from 2019 levels.

To help reach this goal, we are implementing new and existing technologies to further improve water processing and recycling efficiency, and using alternative water sources, like produced or saline water, where possible.

In addition to our water target, we have committed to develop water management plans for all our operations by year-end 2025.

Did you know?

Water management plans identify risks and opportunities and prioritize actions to address them – improving the way we source, transport, store, reuse and dispose of water in our operations.

Water innovation & technology

Learn how we are using innovation and technology to further reduce and reuse water at our operations.

U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

Learn how Cenovus activities are contributing positively to the SDGs, and where we have opportunities to minimize our negative impact.

ESG report

Read our environmental, social & governance (ESG) report to learn more about our ESG targets and performance.

Water stewardship at a glance

  • 83% of the water we use to make steam at our oil sands projects has been recycled from our operations. Most of the additional water we use to make steam is saline water that is unfit for consumption or agricultural use.
  • Oil sands and thermal operations represent approximately 94% of Cenovus’s upstream fresh water use.
  • 90% of Cenovus’s fresh water withdrawals for industrial use occur in areas with low to low/medium baseline water stress, where water availability is good. These ratings are classified by the World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas tool. 

Our water stewardship innovation in action

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