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Running Dry at the Power Plant

Securing sufficient supplies of fresh water for societal, industrial, and agricultural uses while protecting the natural environment is becoming increasingly difficult in many parts of the United States. Climate variability and change may exacerbate the situation through hotter weather and disrupted precipitation patterns that promote regional droughts. Achieving long- term water sustainability will require balancing competing needs effectively, managing water resources more holistically, and developing innovative approaches to water use and conserva- tion. Utility companies—which use substantial amounts of water for plant cooling and other needs—are doing their part by pursuing water-conserving technologies, innovative recycling schemes, and alternative sources of water to deal with the squeeze on freshwater availability.