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U.S., Facing Drought, Wants More Clean Energy, Poll Says

Three out of four Americans think the U.S. needs “to start focusing more” on clean-energy sources like wind and solar that require less water than conventional power generation as the country faces its most widespread drought since 1956, according to a think-tank survey.

The concern about water and its use is shared by 61 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of independents, the Newton, Massachusetts-based, non-partisan Civil Society Institute said yesterday in a statement.

The Palmer Drought Index reported on Aug. 15 that drought covered 57.2 percent of the contiguous 48 states in July, the worst since December 1956, when 57.6 percent of the country was dry. About 50 percent of U.S. water withdrawn on average is used to cool and make steam at power plants, Seth Sheldon, an analyst at the institute, said in the statement.

“The water/energy nexus in a period of drought and water shortages is something we can ill afford to ignore,” he said.

The telephone poll, done by ORC International Ltd. during the period of July 26-30, was conducted among a sample of 1,017 adults, with a three percentage point margin of error.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ehren Goossens in New York at egoossens1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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