Drought, Energy Production and the Future of Water
[caption id="attachment_1386" align="alignleft" width="300"] Frackers experiencing water shortages[/caption]
As heat waves have baked much of the US this year, water is becoming more and more scarce as drought grips the nation. Energy companies are faced with obstacles in producing enough power to meet the increased needs of an overheated population.
Natural gas frackers have been especially hard hit. It takes millions of gallons of water to extract natural gas from deep underneath the ground. The water is treated with chemicals that form a brine, that when forced at high pressure during extraction, aid in the release of natural gas from fractures in the earth. With farmland in desperate need of all available water, frackers have been eyeing any available water sources. They are offering to buy any excess from farms. They are traveling long distances to truck water back to their extraction sites.
Nuclear power plants are also facing obstacles and shutdowns due to the heat. If water temperatures rise too high, they will not cool down the reactors to necessary temperatures and operators are forced to shut down the plants. Other power plants that discharge heated water into rivers and lakes are faced with shut down as well. If discharged water is too warm, it can kill fish. As we've seen recently in the mid-West, the high temperatures have created massive fish kills in some water ways. This prevents the power plants from operating when temperatures get too hot.
It's important to assess the future and understand our needs for water. We must use our resources wisely. It's time to get serious about conservation of both water and energy. It's time to ramp up development of clean alternatives and water-wise energy production.
Some say we can't afford to. I say we can't afford not to. Some say it won't matter what we do if China, India and other developing countries don't as well. We need to work with other nations and make it a global effort. Nothing else will solve the looming catastrophe.
We all depend on water for survival. It's time to protect our future. Real changes must be made soon.
Thanks for reading!