Conservation group Keepers of the Athabasca is asking the Alberta government to review water usage rules for oilsands companies as the province struggles with unseasonably low water levels and raging wild fires.
Current rules set out under the Surface Water Quantity Management Framework allow two oilsands majors, Suncor and Syncrude, to continue water withdrawals for their operations even when water levels are extremely low. All other oilsands operators are required to abide by set limits.
Alberta is currently fighting 65 forest fires, some near oilsands projects, that are being fueled by extremely dry conditions. Twenty fires are currently considered “out of control.” This week the government initiated a province-wide fire ban. Water bombers are currently being used to suppress the flames.