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Looking at a StrategyWiki page, I see that condensers, which cause rain, cause eco-damage.

I can only presume that is because Planet prefers to be dry, or that rain causes plants which destroy fungus.

Using that logic, I should be afraid to "drill to aquifer" and create a new river. However, the same page does not mention any eco-damage.

Can anyone cite a reference as to whether "drill to aquifer" causes eco-damage or not?

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Although the internet has non-authoritative (opinion) answers to your question [see 'terraforming hints', here], the game user manual (starting at the 'ecological risks' section [on page 54]) reads as follows (my comments are in the [] brackets):

'...each technological enhancement constructed on any square in a base's production radius increases that base's ecological disruption. In general, the more complex an enhancement (i.e. the longer it takes to complete), the greater the damage it causes. Also, the higher a base's mineral production, the greater the chance of ecological disaster.'

'Your ecological damage ranking, as shown on your base screen [under the label 'eco damage'] gives a percentage chance on each turn that Planet will react to your disruptions in the form of uncontrolled fungus blooms that wipe out all existing enhancements in a given square, The new fungus also often spawns native life forms.'

'Ecological damage can be minimized (or even eliminated entirely) through social engineering ['green' is especially good for this] and secret projects (such as the Pholus Mutagen).'

So the although the user manual seems to imply that any change you make to a square [including drill to aquifer] will cause some ecological disruption, this is not always true. I have found that while building farms, mines, roads, and especially boreholes increases eco disruption, building forest or fungus in squares [non-technological terraforming] tends to decrease eco disruption and some terraforming, like 'drill to aquifer', or raise/lower/flatten terrain are more or less neutral to eco disruption.

In general, if you plant sufficient forest and fungus squares and don't have too high a mineral production in any given city, eco disruption is easily avoided, even if you do a lot of terraforming.

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  • Thanks. It took 18 months to get an answer (how did you even find the question? ;-) but it's a good and convincing answer and will be sure to help others. \to be honest, I have never planted fungus, so will ask a new question as why I might want to. Please see this question
    – Mawg
    May 12, 2019 at 21:52
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    @ Mawg: I haven't been active on this site over the past several years, but tend to look for questions on games I like to play like SMAC. I made a stab at answering your new question as well. May 13, 2019 at 9:31
  • Thanks. This page says "River is a pure bonus. No ecological damage too! Drill as much rivers as you can"
    – Mawg
    Aug 20, 2019 at 8:39

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