In general it takes about 2 to 4.5 barrels of water, most of which is withdrawn from the Athabasca River, to produce one barrel of oil. While the amount of water consumed per barrel of oil produced has been declining, a 2006 Government of Alberta report warned that there simply may not be enough available water to meet the needs of all planned oil sands projects while maintaining adequate stream flows. The Impact on Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change
Alberta is responsible for one-third of Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs). Specifically, the oil sands are Canada’s largest-growing source of GHGs, and these emissions are expected to increase substantially in the future. The Impact of Oil Sands Development on the Northern Alberta Ecosystem Oil sands development causes large-scale spatial disturbances to Alberta’s northern boreal forest. According to critics, the cumulative effects of deforestation, habitat fragmentation, and species loss caused by exploration, open pit mines, in-situ developments, urban development, forestry, and road clearing in the region are not being effectively managed or even considered. Social Issues
The Impact on Social Services in Alberta
Housing costs are rising, such that many newcomers cannot find adequate housing. The region’s physical infrastructure are severely overtaxed, with communities reporting massive infrastructure deficits. Social services, including health care, crime prevention and education, are inadequate and unable to meet the demands of population pressures. Economic Issues
The Impact on the Alberta Economy
In general, the level of investment and growth in the oil sands has hurt the province’s conventional oil and gas industry. Rising real estate costs and general inflation have hurt sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing particularly hard. Consequently, today there is a growing income split between those Albertans who are employed in the oil sands and...