Water & Power


Drain it! Pay More for the Water! The Hetch-Hetchy Saga Continues

San Francisco’s use of the Hetch-Hetchy Valley to store 85% of its water has come under fire…again.

The Yosemite Valley offers some of the most spectacular views in California. Some people would like to see the Hetch-Hetchy Valley restored to a similar state.

Over the past couple of weeks San Francisco’s water supply and fixed annual fees for that water have come under attack by Republican Congressmen from other parts of the state. The first parry came from Representative Dan Lungren who represents the area stretching east from Sacramento. Lungren has a self-proclaimed “love affair” with Yosemite and thinks it’s worth spending some money to find out if restoring the valley is feasible. On KQED’s Forum program, Lungren argued that, “The possibility that we might have a second Yosemite Valley is something that at least I believe ought to be looked at. And yet everyone who opposes us seems to be afraid of looking at the facts.”

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Where Water & Energy Converge: New Concern

US power plants are “stressing” freshwater supplies, finds science watchdog group

A UCS study says US power plants are sucking up three times the volume of water that goes over Niagara Falls on a daily basis.

For the second time in as many weeks, a major report has emerged warning of consequences from the demand that America’s electricity producers are placing on water supplies.

Today’s findings, from the Union of Concerned Scientists, conclude that water and power are on a collision course in the US, as nearly all major power plants slurp up water for cooling. As of 2008, the UCS study found that across the US, “thermocooled” power plants (which is most of them) took up somewhere between 60 billion and 170 billion gallons of water from rivers, lakes and aquifers. That’s three times the volume of water that pours over Niagara Falls. At least 2.8 billion and as much as 5.9 billion gallons of that was “consumed,” or not put back.

Power Plants are putting strain on watersheds throughout the nation, according to UCS researchers.

“It’s really water that keeps the lights on,” says Kristen Averyt, deputy director of the Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado, and lead researcher for the report. Continue reading