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April 7, 2015

Are Silicon Valley data centres wasting water despite droughts hitting region?

Every data centre reportedly evaporates 20,000 litres of water per hour.

By CBR Staff Writer

Silicon Valley tech giants are accused of using excess water at their data centres in California, despite massive drought in the region.

As California is facing droughts, the US state has also ordered its first ever water restriction measures, and environmental campaigners including Greenpeace have pointed out the operations of the tech giants as a reason for concern.

According to a publically available water use figures of one particular web giant, the data centre facility showed that it evaporates 20,000 litres of water per hour, and every individual server was capable of consuming more water than the average human.

According to liquid cooling technology maker Iceotope, there are technologies including the ones made by Iceotope that will not require servers to waster in order to keep electronics cool.

Iceotope founder Peter Hopton added: "Technology industry leaders must evaluate their priorities and assess whether they can realistically continue to ignore the water waste issue. For tech leaders in California, this drought could very well be the tipping point."

Hopton highlighted that tech giants have tried to make the facilities efficient, but the efforts focus on evaporating clean water in order to cool the air around the electronics, is not the right measure when the state is suffering from drought.

Hopton added: "When you analyse the situation, it’s easy to see how some data centres have ended up evaporating as much water as a small city uses.

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"The problem is a metric called PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness), which is how many data centres measure their environmental performance.

"In air cooled faculties, you can improve this stat by evaporating clean water."

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