“There are two active and two abandoned coal mines in southwest Virginia’s Dumps Creek watershed that bring the competition between energy and water into sharp focus.
Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water are used daily to cool and lubricate mining machinery, wash haul roads and truck wheels to reign in airborne particulates, and to suppress underground dust that otherwise could ignite.
For the uninitiated, the mining and processing of Dump Creek’s coal are just the first stages of an economically essential and ecologically damaging accord between energy production and water that is steadily attracting more notice from scientists and policymakers.
It’s not just that mining and burning coal could not occur without using vast amounts of water. Neither can every other source of energy except wind and solar photovoltaics. In the era of climate change and swift population growth, the competition for water at every stage of the energy production process is growing more fierce, more complex, and much more difficult to resolve.
Here are the three basics of why:” Read the full article here.