We Waste How Much Water On Coal?!
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We usually give coal the stink eye for the ways it harms the earth's surface when it is extracted, and the way it harms the earth's systems when it is burned. But we also need to hone in on the way coal harms our fresh water supplies. Between 800 and 3,000 gallons of water are used to extract, process and dispose each ton of coal. And with 1 billion tons of coal used per year in the US, that equates to as much as 75 trillion gallons of water wasted on dirty energy each year. Circle of Blue has put these stats and many other jaw-dropping figures into a compelling infographic below.
It takes a lot of water to deal with coal, and while we use up an extraordinary amount to extract, process, and dispose of it, coal companies also waste great amounts by polluting it beyond usability. Water is wrapped tightly up with coal -- with power generation in general -- and these figures remind us that our problems with coal aren't just limited to mountain top removal and the misleading and oxymoronic notion of "clean coal." It also threatens what limited supplies of drinking water we have available to us.
Jaymi Heimbuch coverrs all things techy, gadgety and green for TreeHugger.