Water Use

  • 94% of the water we use in our pulp operations is returned to the environment
    • Our mechanical pulp (BCTMP) mills use 19m3 of water per tonne of production
    • Our chemical pulp (NBSK) mills average 107 m3 of water per tonne of production


301 - Interactions with water as a shared resource

Water in West Fraser’s Operations

Water is an important - and protected - resource throughout our operations. We specifically address, manage and monitor stream and watercourse protection as part of our sustainable forest management activities. We operate under strict regulations with regard to water or watercourses on the lands where we harvest which are enforced within our landuse planning.

Solid wood mills largely use water for heating, misters for dust control and to cool equipment. At three sawmill sites, we also employ water in a closed-loop system for the cooling needs of our three biomass-fueled ORC bioenergy systems.  Our solid wood mills use little process water compared to the water used in the pulping process at our pulp facilities.

Pulp mills use and treat large volumes of water in the course of a year. Water is used to wash and process pulp, transport it through the mill, within the cooling process effluent for effective environmental treatment, and for heat and power generation.

Water disclosures below are provided for our BCTMP pulp mills Quesnel River Pulp and Slave Lake Pulp, and NBSK operations Hinton Pulp and joint venture Cariboo Pulp & Paper mills, which West Fraser manages.

West Fraser is a partner in, but not the managing partner of, the Alberta Newsprint company. This facility’s water metrics are not included in the below figures.

Water Discharge & Effluent

Effluent treatment is highly regulated at both provincial and federal governmental levels for all pulp mills in Canada.  A number of the regulations relate to testing the efficacy of our water treatment such as how well our operations remove processing chemicals, measuring levels of suspended solids or particles and measuring oxygen levels in the water to ensure sufficient oxygen for organisms to thrive when the water is returned to the river. Our Canadian pulp and paper mill performance is publicly reported and available on the Environment Canada National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) .

See our Environmental Policy about our approach and commitment to operating responsibly.