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Solar farms sucking up California’s water – so much for “sustainability”
By Ethan Huff // Jul 05, 2023

Large swaths of formerly dry and empty land across rural California now house massive solar farms that we are told will make the Golden State more energy sustainable – but there is just one problem: these solar farms are sucking up the state's scarce water supplies at an astounding rate.

Local wells near the solar projects are either being sucked dry or are already dry as a bone due to the construction of multiple utility-scale solar projects located near Desert Center, which is located along the stretch of Interstate 10 out near Palm Springs.

Local residents and businesses are no longer able to pump the water they once did due to these behemoth solar farms. The projects do not use much water once operational, but they suck up a whole lot of water during construction because state law requires developers to mitigate dust, which they do by spraying water across the landscape.

"The projects are being built on public land overseen by the Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management," wrote Wyatt Myskow for Inside Climate News.

"The federal agency knew the construction of the solar projects could impact local wells and may even be over-drafting the aquifer beneath them, according to former BLM staff, studies on the basin and public documents from the agency's environmental assessments of the projects."

(Related: The Canadian wildfire smoke was so thick early in June that solar panels all across the Northeast were blocked from natural sunlight, causing them to produce up to 50 percent less energy than normal.)

Is it really worth depleting California communities of scarce water resources just to install "clean" solar energy projects?

The local communities around Desert Center are admittedly quite small. They are also perfectly suited for large solar projects, receiving seemingly endless sunlight and linking up nicely with large transmission lines that carry the energy they produce into the denser metropolitan areas along the state's coastal regions.

It was long seen as a no-brainer to use all that desert for solar projects which, when they produce, provide clean energy in the sense that no smoke or other emissions are released like they would be from a coal or oil plant. The problem is that there is very little water available in such areas, and all of it seems to now be going to the solar projects rather than the local homes and businesses that have been there for many decades.

The 2012 Western Solar Plan created by the Bureau of Land Management designates some 298,321 acres of public lands across the American West as "solar energy zones." This means such areas are considered to be perfect locations for large solar farms.

Nearly half of these solar energy zones are located in the Riverside East zone where Desert Center is located. The plan with these zones, at least on paper, is to "help accelerate and continue momentum for the clean energy economy" – but at what cost to local water resources?

The BLM is currently reviewing these plans alongside additional ones to open up five more states to the same solar energy zones designation. If those five additional states are added to the mix, then those, too, will likely see their local water resources depleted by such projects.

"Seven utility-scale solar projects stretching out across nearly 19,000 acres of mostly public land have been approved by the BLM near Desert Center, with more projects under consideration," reports explain about what has already been installed all throughout Southern California's Inland Empire region.

"Together they would provide close to 3,000 megawatts of electricity – enough for around 2 million homes."

The latest news about the "green" energy scam can be found at GreenTyranny.news.

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