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Drought has Midwestern companies planning for future in which cheap water isn't unlimited

The Midwest has always provided access to cheap, plentiful water.

But this year's drought is forcing some companies in the heartland to face a future in which that won't be the case.

Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland in Decatur, Ill., watched uneasily at the height of this year's drought as the water level in the lake that supplies its headquarters dropped uncomfortably low.

By August, the city was ready to tell the company to cut back on water use for the first time in its history.

Such orders can result in lower production and lost jobs.

Rain eventually solved the problem. But ADM says it's learned hard lessons about conservation, and Decatur is looking for ways to get more water. The city says the problem is every alternative is expensive.

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