Water War for Google’s Expanding Data Center

Google has filed a groundwater withdrawal application in South Carolina as a means of cooling their expanding data center facility creating a war for water in counties around Charleston.  In an effort to help with cooling the data center servers, Google wants 1.5 million gallons of water to be drawn from an aquifer, a body of permeable rock that contains or transmits groundwater.    This request is not sitting well with the region’s residents, conservationists, and local water utility leaders as it is unclear how much water can be drawn from these reservoirs without exhausting the groundwater supplies and how long it will take for the reservoirs to fill back up.  Groundwater is currently being pumped by public, industrial and private wells in the area at a rate of 11 million gallons per day and with the uncertainty of the water supplies in the aquifers, freshwater reserve tanks could be effected in other parts of the Southeast US as well.

Data Centers across the country consume billions of gallons of water daily to cool their facilities and that number is expected to rise as the industry expands.  Tech companies are doing their part by investing in research on the environmental effects of groundwater withdrawal and Google has examined various options.  However, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is expected to decide on Google’s permit in May while opponents of the request want state officials to wait on making the decision until a study by the  U.S. Geological Survey on groundwater supply is completed in 2019 which would put an end to the sustainability guess work of how much water can be drawn from the aquifer.  Read full article here.


Posted in Environmental, Industry News.