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Squash growing at a local farm in the northern part of the Las Vegas Valley.

Extreme water usage affecting agricultural production

A few years back, I spent some time on the Navajo Indian Reservation designing a high-tech, indoor agricultural environment. This was going to enable the community to research how to grow produce with limited water, preserve their natural, non-GMO seeds, and use renewable energy to do it. This project had significant importance to the people living in the area because, in the past, they used to grow acres of thriving produce, but now, largely due to the local coal mining industry, their water resources were reportedly depleted and their water table was said to have fallen to 900 feet below the surface. A huge environmental cost of fossil fuel and nuclear power production is their massive usage of water. It takes a lot of water to clean and process coal, extract natural gas, and cool nuclear fuel rods, and it takes even more water to create the steam needed to turn the turbines that make the electricity. Consequently, relying on these traditional methods of electricity generation will eventually lead to a lack of water, which may severely affect agricultural production.