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Analysis of the cost effectiveness of alternative policies and technologies to manage water extractions by the oil sands sector along the lower Athabasca River Open Access


Other title
Lower Athabasca Water Management Framework
Policy options
Technology options
Industrial water-use
Consolidated tailings
Price with refund
Water-use efficiency
Cost effectiveness
Water trade
Athabasca River
Oil sands
Water management
Economic analysis
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Mannix, Amy Elinor
Supervisor and department
Adamowicz, Wiktor (Rural Economy)
Dridi, Chokri (Rural Economy)
Examining committee member and department
Chakravorty, Ujjayant (Economics and School of Business)
Department of Rural Economy

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
The Lower Athabasca Water Management Framework limits water extractions by the oil sands industry near Fort McMurray, Alberta. To increase water-use efficiency and minimise the cost of water restrictions, several policy and technology options were developed and assessed using quantitative and qualitative methods. Selected options were the policies of water trade and pricing with refund, and the technologies of storage, and consolidated tailings and increased recycling. Options were designed based on year 2020 demand and assessed relative to prior allocation. Using linear programming and static optimisation, it is shown that an off-stream storage sized to avoid water restrictions, in combination with efficient water allocation (e.g. water trade), is most cost-effective, although provides no ongoing incentive to increase water-use efficiency. Only the policy options provide equal incentives across firms to increase efficiency. To achieve both objectives of increased water-use efficiency and minimised costs, a combined policy and technology approach is recommended.
License granted by Amy Mannix ( on 2009-08-10T14:30:31Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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