Bitcoin Mining Effect Hit El Salvador, Causes Water Shortage

Many villages in El Salvador are facing acute water shortages due to the country’s aggressive push into Bitcoin mining, highlighting the environmental costs of cryptocurrencies. President Nayib Bukele hailed the government’s adoption of Bitcoin to revive the economy, but it is currently under increasing fire for its unexpected environmental effects.

El Salvador became the first nation to accept Bitcoin as legal tender in September 2021, after which the government of President Bukele made significant investments in Bitcoin mining, utilizing the nation’s volcanic geothermal energy to fuel the energy-intensive procedure.

Further explaining the situation, Abigail Paz from Global Voices stated that Bitcoin mining relies solely on a large amount of computing power to function correctly. This power also requires a large amount of electricity to execute its task.

He also explained that water is essential in the mining process because it helps cool off the mining computer system and enables Bitcoin transactions. It is also relevant in the energy plants that generate the electricity. 

Rural Communities Complain Of Water Supply Decreases, President Reacts

Communities around these mining sites, especially rural areas, report severe water supply decreases that impact everyday life, agriculture, and local businesses. A native of the Chalatenango district named Maria Hernandez highlighted the horrific circumstances.

According to correspondence, “Our wells and rivers are running dry. The Bitcoin miners are taking over all the resources, leaving us with nothing.” However, environmental organizations have also voiced concerns over the sustainability of employing geothermal energy for such a demanding procedure. The Salvadoran government has moved in to defend its Bitcoin mining plan in the face of mounting dissatisfaction.

Despite acknowledging the water shortages, President Bukele maintained in a recent speech that the advantages of Bitcoin adoption—such as economic growth and technical advancement—outweigh the disadvantages. Bukele declared, “Our Bitcoin initiative is a long-term investment in our country’s future.”

Residents Links Development to Environmental Factors, Call on International Cooperation

Some contend that the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining is a global problem that has to be resolved through international cooperation rather than being specific to El Salvador. Critics, such as regional activists and global environmental organizations, contend that the government is not doing enough to address the pressing needs of the populace and that people’s needs should come before speculative financial endeavors.

Environmental activist Carlos Martinez stated, “El Salvador’s Bitcoin experiment should not come at the cost of its citizens’ basic rights to water and a healthy environment.” He implored the government to “give sustainable practices top priority and to make sure that the advantages of technological advances do not come at such a high cost to the environment and people.”

However, El Salvador has also spurred international discussions over whether Bitcoin mining is sustainable. As of press time, the Salvadoran government is under a lot of pressure to strike a balance between its expansive Bitcoin plan and the pressing needs of its people. According to experts, stricter resource usage laws and thorough environmental studies are necessary to lessen the detrimental effects of Bitcoin mining. 

El Salvador Water Supply Authority Intervenes After Report from Local Newspaper 

Over eight thousand people in  San Martín, around the Santa Teresa Project, Eastern part of San Salvador,  the capital city, lack access to good running water. This is happening amid several complaints to the respective government authorities.

Shortly after one of the popular newspapers, La Prensa Gráfica, reported the story, the National Administration of Aqueducts and Sewers (ANDA) had to send nine water pipes to the affected neighborhood. Another affected area is Altavista, a neighborhood town located in Ilopango, southwest of San Martín.

The residents were said to have been absent from clean drinking water for almost a week. The ANDA reported that 90% of the drinking water network in the San Salvador district needs attention. Social analysts say that should this development persist, Salvadorans may be compelled to rely on private services, relatives, or bottled water from foreign aid to sustain themselves.

Written by
Don Blankenship

Don Blankenship, a crypto writing maestro, captivates with his astute analyses of blockchain phenomena. Synthesizing the dynamic world of digital currencies into insightful prose, Don's articles are a beacon for enthusiasts and professionals. His expertise establishes him as a definitive voice in crypto journalism.

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