A Big Risk to Tech and Data Centers You Might Not Know About

  • 25.08.2022
  • Barron's

Without water, there is no life. But more than that, water permeates many of our daily activities. Every time we open a browser on our smartphones, or click on our online shopping basket, or stream a video, water has enabled the technology. Water is needed to mine the precious metals, manufacture the products, and generate the electricity.

Data centers sit at the heart of many of the technologies and products we rely on. And they guzzle water. That puts all kinds of companies at risk from shrinking water supplies.

James Rees, a water consultant at Noverram, a firm focused on climate technology consulting, says global technology companies that own or manage large data centers provide data processing, hosting, and e-business services. These centers require significant infrastructure and use a lot of water for cooling.

“These companies are investing in innovative ideas to reduce the volume of drinking water traditionally used for cooling, such as immersion or air-cooling systems, distributed processing, recirculation, and recycling water. But regardless, they do use a lot of water, and often it is taken from high-risk stressed basins,” says Rees.