Al­ter­na­tive power can save wa­ter

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

The June 17 front-page ar­ti­cle “Earth’s ground­wa­ter re­serves dwin­dling” brought to the fore­front another fac­tor of cli­mate change that is of­ten over­looked: the de­ple­tion of many of our wa­ter aquifers. The ar­ti­cle dis­closed that the At­lantic and Gulf Coastal Plains Aquifer is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a neg­a­tive bal­ance. We are us­ing it faster than it can re­fill. And I thought only our Western states had a prob­lem.

As the ar­ti­cle pointed out, min­ing is a wa­ter­in­ten­sive ac­tiv­ity, and we mine a lot of coal in Vir­ginia, West Vir­ginia and Ken­tucky. Power plants use 40 per­cent of the daily fresh­wa­ter sup­plies in our na­tion. This need not be. Al­ter­na­tive forms of power gen­er­a­tion (so­lar and wind) could re­place the coal-burn­ing tech­nol­ogy that is out­moded and save much of our wa­ter sup­ply.

Rhode Is­land has started con­struc­tion of the first U.S. off­shore wind farm. We could repli­cate that ef­fort off of Nor­folk.

Earle Mitchell, Spring­field

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