World Water Day 2015

THIRSTY COAL: WATER USE AND IMPACTS AT DIFFERENT STAGES OF THE COAL LIFECYCLE

Water is used to extract and to wash coal. In power plants, water is used in three main processes: cooling, pollution control and waste management.

MINING: Coal mining decreases groundwater levels, stream flows are reduced, and salt water can move inland in coastal areas. Land erosion increases risk of flooding and community displacement. Acid mine drainage (AMD) leads to long term water pollution, kills fish. Mine slurry ponds leach and contaminate water bodies. In this image, Greenpeace activists install a large banner next to an open-pit coal mine which is undermining the embankment of the Yellow River in Wuhai City, Inner Mongolia China. The banner reads "Yellow River: Off-limits to Coal." Massive cluster of coal processing plants are operated at dozens of industrial parks spanning hundreds of miles along the Yellow River. All these projects are highly energy, water and carbon intensive, and discharge huge amounts of waste water and flue gas. 12/12/2014

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