Over the course of 2017 and 2018, water experts from across the industry worked diligently to develop a set of performance indicators to measure water governance, operational water management, watershed-level planning and water performance and reporting at the mine-site level. The Mining Association of Canada’s (MAC) Water Stewardship Protocol is the newest addition to its Towards Sustainable Mining® (TSM®) initiative and will be phased-in over the next several years, with public reporting scheduled to begin in 2021. This Protocol will strengthen the standards included in TSM and will guide the development of water stewardship practices in a manner that will go beyond legal compliance.
In 2015, MAC adopted a TSM Water Stewardship Policy Framework, which describes the membership’s commitments to water stewardship that go beyond legal compliance.
The new Water Stewardship Protocol is based on the Water Stewardship Policy Framework and provides a tool for companies to measure implementation of the framework’s commitments. The Protocol is comprised of four performance indicators:
- Water Governance
- Operational Water Management
- Watershed-scale Planning
- Water Reporting and Performance indicators
To achieve Level A, which is considered good performance, a facility must demonstrate that commitments and accountabilities related to water stewardship are in place and are consistent with the TSM Water Stewardship Framework. It also involves ensuring that that water-related plans and management systems are implemented, which includes preparation of a water balance, a water monitoring program, and response and contingency plans for water-related risks and incidents.
As described in Indicator 3 of the Protocol, the facility must also engage with other water users and COI in the watershed and participate in watershed-scale planning and governance fora, where they exist. Furthermore, to achieve Level A for Indicator 4 there must be evidence that the facility has established water-related objectives or targets to measure performance and that public reporting includes performance relative to its objectives or targets.