As Drought Grips South Africa, A Conflict Over Water and Coal brews

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    Until a ferocious drought withered crops, turned rivers to trickles, and dried up municipal drinking water supplies, one of Limpopo province’s distinctions was the ample sun and good soil that made it South Africa’s premier producer of fruits and vegetables.

    Another distinction was that the province’s farmers made an informal agreement to share scarce water with coal companies developing the Waterberg Coalfield that lies beneath dry central Limpopo.

    Facing one of the worst droughts in memory, South Africa’s leaders have doubled down on their support of the water-intensive coal industry. But clean energy advocates say the smartest move would be to back the country’s burgeoning wind and solar power sectors.

    Keith Schneider in this article on Yale Environemnt 360 examines how thee drought is giving rise to another grave problem, the ongoing conflict over water and coal.

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