The UCS said it found that operator Power4Georgians may have to tap into groundwater supplies for cooling water at a proposed coal-fired power plant in the state's Washington County.
Katherine Cummings, executive director at regional advocacy group Fall-line Alliance for a Clean Environment, said watersheds in the area can't handle the extra burden. The National Weather Service, she said, has classified the area as having an "exceptional drought condition."
UCS states that most of the U.S. energy production comes from hydropower generation, nuclear power or from fossil fuels, which are water-intensive forms of energy.
"There are places in which so much water is being removed from rivers and lakes for drinking water, agriculture, and current power plants that if you add in more power plant water demand, something will have to give," John Rogers, a UCS senior energy analyst, said in a statement.
The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration states that warmer weather trends in much of the United States and low natural gas prices means coals' share of total power generation is at its lowest level since 1973.
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