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Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 11:50am

Energy Taxing Water Resources

Updated: 3 years ago.
Smokestack at Harllee Branch Power Plant in Putnam County (Image wikimedia)

A new report says Georgia’s power plants are stressing the state’s water resources. Plants in Georgia remove up to 2.8 billion gallons a day.

The Union of Concerned Scientists ranks Georgia number eight for the amount of water that energy companies take out of waterways to create electricity.

Report co-author Rob Jackson with Duke University says during Georgia’s 2007 drought, Georgia Power’s plants did not have enough water.

“Power plants had to scale back their electricity production either because of a direct water shortage or because there wasn’t enough water to dilute the heated discharge water in streams with very low flows.”

Georgia requires that water returned to lakes and rivers not raise the total temperature of water sources above 90 degrees.

The new report also says many plants do not do a good job reporting how much water they actually use.

Bill Evans with Georgia Power says they’re trying to be more consistent in tracking water use. He says they’re also putting more resources into water conservation.

“We are opening a water research center at one of our plants in Cartersville and our whole industry is going to participate in that for researching ways to reduce water consumption at our plants.”

The report also lists the Upper Oconee watershed in Putnam County as one of the 25 most stressed in the United States.

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