{"code":"25808","sect":"El Salvador","sect_slug":"el-salvador","hits":"839","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202110\/el_salvador\/25808","link_edit":"","name":"Bitcoin but no water for this Salvadoran town","slug":"bitcoin-but-no-water-for-this-salvadoran-town","info":"In Berl\u00edn in the Salvadoran department of Usulut\u00e1n, a privileged few families get water once a month, supplied by the community itself. People who live in the municipality\u2019s higher elevations can buy water for $45 to $60 dollars per month, roughly two weeks\u2019 pay. Residents are unsettled by plans to expand geothermal energy plants to provide power to mine Bitcoin. Leer en espa\u00f1ol","mtag":"Inequality","noun":{"html":"\u003Cspan class='tint-text--dark' data_href='\/user\/profile\/jgavarrete'\u003E Julia Gavarrete\u003C\/span\u003E","data":{"julia-gavarrete":{"sort":"jgavarrete","slug":"julia-gavarrete","path":"julia_gavarrete","name":"Julia Gavarrete","edge":"0","init":"0"}}},"view":"839","pict":{"cms-image-000036555-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"36555","name":"cms-image-000036555.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036555.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036555.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036555-jpg","text":"<p>Mar\u00eda Alvarenga lives in Las Delicias and cooks with water that she collects from a nearby spring. She purifies the water using an artisanal filter made by local residents. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EMar\u00eda Alvarenga lives in Las Delicias and cooks with water that she collects from a nearby spring. She purifies the water using an artisanal filter made by local residents. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000036556-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"36556","name":"cms-image-000036556.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036556.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036556.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036556-jpg","text":"<p>Melvin Alvarenga travels by motorcycle every two days to a water source in the canton of Las Delicias. The Alvarenga family uses the spring water exclusively for drinking. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EMelvin Alvarenga travels by motorcycle every two days to a water source in the canton of Las Delicias. The Alvarenga family uses the spring water exclusively for drinking. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000036557-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"36557","name":"cms-image-000036557.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036557.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036557.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036557-jpg","text":"<p>The geothermal plant located in the canton of La Monta\u00f1ita, Alegr\u00eda, Usulut\u00e1n. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EThe geothermal plant located in the canton of La Monta\u00f1ita, Alegr\u00eda, Usulut\u00e1n. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000036558-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"36558","name":"cms-image-000036558.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036558.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036558.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036558-jpg","text":"<p>Nine-year-old Janette Guevara checks the water level of a storage barrel at her house. Water storage tanks and barrels are a common sight throughout the communities surrounding Berl\u00edn due to the unreliable potable water supply. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003ENine-year-old Janette Guevara checks the water level of a storage barrel at her house. Water storage tanks and barrels are a common sight throughout the communities surrounding Berl\u00edn due to the unreliable potable water supply. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro.\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":36558,"date":{"live":"2021\/10\/26"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2021","data_post_dateLive_MM":"10","data_post_dateLive_DD":"26","text":"\u003Cp id=\"docs-internal-guid-23d93715-7fff-0bd5-c25e-136516957082\" dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAfter a month-long drought struck the canton of Las Delicias in Berl\u00edn, at last it was their turn to get water. Mar\u00eda Alvarenga awoke early on July 22 to the sound of water rushing through the pipes of her house. When the water comes, they fill every available container to the brim \u2500 jugs, barrels, jars, gourds, coffee cups.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cSome people who can buy bigger containers are able to store more water,\u201d she says. Only people with relatives in the United States sending money home can install cisterns or buy the 1,000-liter plastic water storage tanks. Mar\u00eda has no relatives abroad to send her money.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAlvarenga, 68, lives with her husband Isidro Ben\u00edtez, 72. Their community has attracted attention recently for its geothermal energy potential that the Salvadoran government wants to harness for a Bitcoin mining facility. But the biggest problem facing the community is the lack of water. And they fear the Bitcoin Law will only worsen their water troubles.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIf water comes to Mar\u00eda\u2019s house for a day or two a month, it\u2019s only because the community got together to install a potable water service administered by a community association. They pay six dollars a month for the water service that supplies 900 families in 15 communities surrounding Berl\u00edn. Alvarenga and Ben\u00edtez make their living from agriculture, such as their small cocoa crop and the fish they raise in one of the two pools they dug in their yard to capture water. They used to have livestock, but stopped due to the water shortage.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cWhen there\u2019s no water, we use the rainwater that we collect,\u201d says Mar\u00eda, pointing to three barrels. The barrels stood empty and dusty until rain came on July 22, after almost 30 days with no rainfall.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=36555\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Mar\u00eda Alvarenga lives in Las Delicias and cooks with water that she collects from a nearby spring. She purifies the water using an artisanal filter made by local residents. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro.\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EMar\u00eda Alvarenga lives in Las Delicias and cooks with water that she collects from a nearby spring. She purifies the water using an artisanal filter made by local residents. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro.\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn\u00e9s Marroqu\u00edn is president of the Asociaci\u00f3n M\u00faltiple El Milagro, which manages the community distribution of water. She says they\u2019d like to supply water to everybody, but they can\u2019t. \u201cPeople who are able to hoard water do exactly that, and those who can\u2019t have to go around asking for water until it arrives once a month.\u201d\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ENearby families also get their water from rooftop gutters that feed into large storage barrels, buying it, or hauling it from a spring. Many choose the spring since they can\u2019t always afford to pay between $45 and $60 for water, which equals two week\u2019s pay at the coffee plantations.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe association has to be careful not to overload their six pumps, which could cause damage they can\u2019t afford to fix and further aggravate the water problem. They can\u2019t keep up with the demand for water, but they try. To improve service, they recently installed another pump motor that cost $24,000.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe association started up in 1972 and developed a distribution facility supplied by the Santa Anita spring. The water is pumped from this spring and distributed via pipelines to various water storage tanks. This is an expensive facility for a poor area of Berl\u00edn, a municipality marked by extreme poverty and very high malnutrition rates, according to the World Food Program (WFP) and the Salvadoran government\u2019s Fund for Local Development (FISDL).\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EPeople here were troubled by President Bukele\u2019s proposed Water Resources Law submitted to the Legislative Assembly on June 18. Many fear that a law will be passed that benefits the private sector, worsening the community\u2019s already dire situation. \u201cWe\u2019re worried about private companies coming to build and break things at the Santa Anita spring,\u201d said Marroqu\u00edn, adding that the Coca-Cola company has been seen in the area.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EEl Faro requested comment twice from the press office of Industrias La Constancia, the Coca-Cola distributor in El Salvador, but received no response.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=36556\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Melvin Alvarenga travels by motorcycle every two days to a water source in the canton of Las Delicias. The Alvarenga family uses the spring water exclusively for drinking. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro.\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EMelvin Alvarenga travels by motorcycle every two days to a water source in the canton of Las Delicias. The Alvarenga family uses the spring water exclusively for drinking. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro.\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBerl\u00edn is an area with plentiful geothermal energy. The Berl\u00edn Geothermal Power Plant, operated by the transnational energy company LaGeo owner of 37 geothermal wells.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe communities around Berl\u00edn are connected by a rural maze of narrow, rocky, dusty roads that don\u2019t show up on Google Maps. The 15-year municipal development plan published in 2020 by the municipality with international aid reports that Berl\u00edn has been negatively affected by deforestation from logging operations and land clearing by coffee plantations; air, water and land pollution from agricultural burning; and smoke and gas emissions from geothermal energy operations. Water is one of many problems, but it\u2019s the one that hits the hardest.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EConcern spread throughout the community following the news that the geothermal power plant was going to increase its production capacity, and rumors about Bitcoin mining have also been circulating. \u201cThere\u2019s a lot of unhappiness about all this,\u201d says Marroqu\u00edn.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EResidents have experienced the slow depletion in the water supply, and changes in water quality such as the whitish scum that floats on the surface. They don\u2019t understand the workings of Bitcoin mining, but just hearing rumors about something that could make their water shortage even worse leads them to reject it out of hand.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EFirst steps for Bitcoin mining\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBefore it gets to Las Delicias, the water pipeline passes through the nearby canton of San Juan Loma Alta. The morning of July 22, a throng of women flocked to the main dirt road to await their turn at the community water tap. Each paid $6 for the right to fill up, and 50 cents to the person who operates the water valve.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe community water tap is like a town square, a place for women to gather, laugh, and share their woes in the shade of a scrawny tree while they wait for the long line of water containers to be filled. The lack of water is always a topic of conversation.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAlma Orellana, 50, is the coordinator of the Defenders of the San Sim\u00f3n Watershed. A community leader from Berl\u00edn, she stops to listen to the women\u2019s conversation. She\u2019s known locally as a staunch defender of the river, another local water source at risk due to low soil permeability, leading to declining river volumes. She got involved in the environmental movement after Hurricane Mitch in 1998, when a landslide in Berl\u00edn made her think that \u201cnatural disasters\u201d aren\u2019t always so \u201cnatural.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOrellana says that locals heard about cryptocurrency mining from community radio broadcasts, which reported that geothermal energy will be used to supply power to rooms full of computers. Orellana argues that building more geothermal wells will increase deforestation. \u201cPeople know that this is going to affect them. We\u2019ve seen the damage caused by LaGeo\u2019s exploitation of water resources.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBefore El Salvador\u2019s Bitcoin Law took effect on September 7, President Bukele tweeted that he had directed LaGeo to develop a Bitcoin mining plan that would provide the power supply needed for the system to operate. Bukele is counting on geothermal energy to power Bitcoin mining.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=36557\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"The geothermal plant located in the canton of La Monta\u00f1ita, Alegr\u00eda, Usulut\u00e1n. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro.\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EThe geothermal plant located in the canton of La Monta\u00f1ita, Alegr\u00eda, Usulut\u00e1n. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro.\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EMauricio Serme\u00f1o, president of the Unidad Ecol\u00f3gica Salvadore\u00f1a (UNES), a non-governmental organization that advocates for environmental protection and conservation in El Salvador, claims that while this initiative could increase geothermal energy production, which according to government data represents 26 percent of the country\u2019s energy supply, it would come with high impacts and very few benefits.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAlthough geothermal is one of the \u201cclean\u201d or renewable energies, Serme\u00f1o believes that there are always impacts \u201con the air they breathe, on the water they consume, on the soil, and from increased seismic activity.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ESerme\u00f1o does not view Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency mining as a viable venture, because it requires \u201ca huge, uninterrupted power supply.\u201d He compares it to a factory that consumes five megawatts per hour, which is an enormous factory. Bukele says that the 95 megawatts per hour generated by the new geothermal well will all be used for Bitcoin mining. \u201cThey\u2019re talking about 95 megawatts, but I think it will really be more,\u201d says Serme\u00f1o.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBitcoin mining requires infrastructure, a data center, internet connectivity, and plenty of electricity and air conditioning because computers need to be cooled. \u201cOur climate is too hot, and they [computers used in Bitcoin mining] generate a lot of heat. They need a certain ambient temperature to function. Air conditioning can double the amount of energy needed for this type of operation,\u201d says Serme\u00f1o, also citing the potential for higher carbon dioxide emissions.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EA new study published in \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/science\/article\/abs\/pii\/S0921344921005103?dgcid=author\"\u003EResources, Conservation and Recycling\u003C\/a\u003E found that Bitcoin mining produces large quantities of electronic waste. Because the computers used for mining need to be replaced frequently under the strains of non-stop processing, each blockchain transaction generates on average 272 grams of e-waste, according to the study \u2014 comparable to two iPhones.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIf additional production capacity for Bitcoin mining is needed, as President Bukele announced, this may require the development of more geothermal energy infrastructure, which could have an impact on the aquifers that supply these communities. The rumors that their water supply could diminish are enough to put drought-weary Berl\u00edn communities on high alert.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ENatalia Santamar\u00eda, a geophysics specialist who has researched water usage with UNES, warns of microearthquakes produced by the drilling of geothermal wells. \u201cThis [seismic activity] could obstruct the flow of water to the communities.\u201d But to truly understand the environmental ramifications, Santamar\u00eda says that an environmental impact analysis of Bitcoin mining would be ideal.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=36558\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Nine-year-old Janette Guevara checks the water level of a storage barrel at her house. Water storage tanks and barrels are a common sight throughout the communities surrounding Berl\u00edn due to the unreliable potable water supply. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro.\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003ENine-year-old Janette Guevara checks the water level of a storage barrel at her house. Water storage tanks and barrels are a common sight throughout the communities surrounding Berl\u00edn due to the unreliable potable water supply. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro.\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ESerme\u00f1o and Santamar\u00eda agree that the current level of electricity generation from volcanoes isn\u2019t enough to cover El Salvador\u2019s current demand. Serme\u00f1o foresees dramatic consequences caused by the environmental impacts of Bitcoin mining, including energy shortages triggering frequent blackouts across the entire country.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EEl Faro contacted the LaGeo communications office on October 11 to ask whether they have an environmental impact study for Bitcoin mining or groundwater management in the areas surrounding the geothermal plant, whether the Berl\u00edn plant will be used for Bitcoin mining, and whether energy use by Bitcoin mining would lead to an energy shortage. LaGeo did not respond.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOrellana worries that increased water shortages related to Bitcoin operations will lead to more water conflicts. So far, environmental conflicts have mostly been about dumping pollutants in croplands or the excessive use of agrochemicals. \u201cSome communities are trying to raise organic crops, while others are polluting,\u201d she says. But it hasn\u2019t escalated beyond that.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBack in Las Delicias, Mar\u00eda Alvarenga sold her last chicken to pay the water bill. When she was young, she says it took her a whole day to fetch water from the San Simon River, near the town of Mercedes Uma\u00f1a. \u201cWe went through a lot to get water,\u201d she recalled. She says that the six-dollar cost is unimportant as long as she has water for drinking and bathing. What\u2019s life without water? After a deep sigh, she replied: \u201cIt\u2019s cruel.\u201d\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E*Translation by John Turnure\u003C\/p\u003E"}