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Water stewardship

Water stewardship

Water is essential to our operations. This includes creating steam for the steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) processes at our oil sands and thermal projects, cooling and other processes at our refining, upgrading and ethanol facilities, drilling and completing wells, maintaining access roads at our sites and running our camps. We recognize how we handle water impacts the environment and is also important to stakeholders in the local watersheds where we operate.

Our water stewardship target

Water stewardship
Water stewardship target

Cenovus is always looking for ways to further reduce the amount of water we use and be more efficient with how we use it. We have set a target to reduce fresh water intensity by 20% in our oil sands operations and in our thermal operations by year‑end 2030 from 2019 levels.

We will seek to reduce our fresh water intensity by implementing existing and emerging technologies to improve water processing and recycle efficiency, reservoir strategies to reduce steam‑oil ratio and through increased use of saline and alternative water sources where possible.

Our targets are supported by a commitment to develop water management plans for all operations by year‑end 2025. Water management plans promote water stewardship by considering stakeholder feedback and local watershed challenges. The plans will 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.

Learn about the technology and innovation we use to increase the efficiency of water use in our operations.

Quick facts

  • 83 percent of the water we use to make steam at our oil sands projects is water that’s 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 percentof Cenovus's upstream fresh water use.
  • 90 percent of Cenovus’s fresh water withdrawals for industrial use occurred in areas with low to low‑medium baseline water stress, where water availability is good.

Find out more about our water stewardship initiatives in our 2020 Environmental, Social & Governance Report.