Earth 3.0: Energy vs Water

Energy versus Water is flagged on the first cover of Earth 3.0, a new magazine published in America by the Scientific American http://tinyurl.com/6cfsxq in September 2008.

Catch-22: Water vs. Energy is the title of an interesting article by Michael E. Webber on fierce competition for water between Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Water is needed to generate energy. Energy is needed to deliver water. Both resources are limiting the other—and both may be running short. Is there a way out?

In June 2008 the state of Florida made an unusual announcement: it would sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the corps’s plan to reduce water flow from reservoirs in Georgia into the Apalachicola River, which runs through Florida from the Georgia-Alabama border. Florida was concerned that the restricted flow would threaten certain endangered species. Alabama also objected, worried about another species: nuclear power plants, which use enormous quantities of water, usually drawn from rivers and lakes, to cool their big reactors. The reduced flow raised the specter that the Farley Nuclear Plant near Dothan, Ala., would need to shut down.

Georgia wanted to keep its water for good reason: a year earlier various rivers dropped so low that the drought-stricken state was within a few weeks of shutting down its own nuclear plants. Conditions had become so dire that by this past January one of the state’s legislators suggested that Georgia move its upper border a mile farther north to annex freshwater resources in Tennessee, pointing to an allegedly faulty border survey from 1818.

Throughout 2008 Georgia, Alabama and Florida have continued to battle; the corps, which is tasked by Congress to manage water resources, has been caught in the middle. Drought is only one cause. A rapidly growing population, especially in Atlanta, as well as overdevelopment and a notorious lack of water planning, is running the region’s rivers dry.

You can find other examples on the resuls of fierce competition for water ffrom many developing countries from http://www.irc.nl.

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