CAN Europe releases an informative report on the effects of coal-based energy production on water resources
The brief titled “The impacts of coal-based energy policy on water” offers a comprehensive look at the detrimental effects of coal-based energy policy on water. Backed by concrete data from Turkey, the brief highlights the impact of coal-fired plants and coal mines on water quality and quantity, and raises concerns about the scarcity of freshwater sources in the face of serious climate disruption. Additionally, the report sheds light on how coal, a water-intensive energy source, competes with the need to ensure water for essential purposes such as drinking and irrigation.
The information brief draws on scientific research on the water impacts of coal mining and coal power plants, encompassing issues such as water consumption, regional hydrology, wastewater, and water pollution in Turkey.
The note also includes a summary of the water governance in Türkiye with key takeaways and a case study on the impacts of the Yeniköy Coal Power Plant on water.
The briefing presents some key findings and recommendations which include:
- The drainage of water deposits for coal mining is causing a growing deterioration of the water regime in river basins. Deep mining is also leading to increased pollution of water resources with heavy metals, rendering them unsafe for consumption and other uses;
- The production of electricity from coal requires a significant amount of water throughout each stage, resulting in an increase of both water consumption and pollution. Considering the worsening climate crises, Turkey is anticipated to face water scarcity issues;
- Turkey’s energy policy, yet partially reliant on coal, poses a multifaceted threat to climate, energy security, air quality, and water security. Furthermore, the implementation of extensive coal projects in specific regions results in a competition for resources with local agricultural irrigation and drinking water requirements.
- It is crucial for Turkey’s state policies to consider water consumption in their electricity generation planning. Authorities need to intensify their endeavours to incorporate this aspect into the country’s energy policies;
- Given the current seasonal conditions indicating drought, it is imperative that the public administration in Turkey considers the growing water problem and incorporates it into their planning and direction of the energy sector. As such, it is suggested that the authorities adjust the existing energy policies to address this issue effectively.