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Data Centers: Will Reducing Water Usage Become as Important as Reducing Power Usage?

June 25, 2015

WaterIt is common knowledge that data centers use a lot of electricity. Now, it seems that data center owners may need to consider reducing water usage as well.

According to an article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, a midsize 15-megawatt data center uses between 80 million and 130 million gallons of water a year for cooling.

In his article, “Data Centers and Hidden Water Use,” Drew Fitzgerald describes how California’s more than 800 data centers have become large consumers of an increasingly precious state resource. Though data center water usage lags far behind the needs of agricultural and power industries, it is estimated that each year the state’s data centers consume roughly as much water in a year as 158,000 Olympic sized swimming pools.

The article goes on to describe how companies such as Google, Microsoft and Digital Realty Trust Inc. are taking measures to reduce water consumption. Dupont Fabros Technology Inc., the owner of a 250,000 square foot data center in Santa Clara, Calif., has built two half-million gallon water storage tanks as back up to make sure it doesn’t run dry.

In a state where restaurants only serves water on request, every drain on this natural resource deserves attention. California’s governor has ordered cities to cut annual water use by 25%. Businesses have been largely spared from the cutbacks, but for how long?

Kim Ream, Marketing Project Manager

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