You must log in or register to comment.

Drumphelstiltsken t1_j0ii84g wrote

> In a Nov. 21 blog posting, Google said that all of its global data centers consumed approximately 4.3 billion gallons (16.3 billion liters) of water in 2021, which it said is comparable to the water needed to irrigate and maintain 29 golf courses in the southwest U.S. each year.

Holy shit. This has got to change.

I get that people love golf, but it seems really clear that many of these places are just not fit to host golf courses, and the water and fertilizer usage is just wholly unethical given the climate reality. The southwest should capitalize on its natural beauty, flora and fauna, and history, among other things. Be responsible and let places with more even and voluminous rainfall host the golf courses instead.

There is so much to be done and changed in the world, this kind of shit should be low hanging fruit.


japekai t1_j0jjm8x wrote

Those places aren’t even fit for large scale human habitation.


heinous_nutsack t1_j0kk9h5 wrote

Golf is definitely high hanging fruit because it's for the rich and the poors that want to cosplay not being poor.


TSL4me t1_j0m8s8k wrote

Bull shit, there is no water auditer. There is no God dam way this is even near true. Golf courses in california mostly use grey water at this point too.


Iohet t1_j0kjpmx wrote

You bit on the deflection

Golf courses in the southwest increasingly use nonpotable water that is not suitable for human consumption, and water districts are bringing more sources online for this use (along with use in parks and other public spaces where irrigation is useful).


TSL4me t1_j0m8vjm wrote

Yup, its just an easy cop out.


mynameisalso t1_j0j2eal wrote

Wait your take away from that was "golf courses use a lot of water" ?


Drumphelstiltsken t1_j0j2u5h wrote

The article is about Google, the information on golf courses in there was unexpected and provides an interesting comparison.

Not sure what your issue is here.


Soft-Cryptographer-1 t1_j0j5bf0 wrote

As a previous chief engineer at a hotel with a world famous golf course, its truly gross how much water is used and the amount of fertilizer that is simply washed into bodies of water. Their given use doesn't seem to justify the resource expenditure.


Bananajamuh t1_j0jdar3 wrote

But how will the rich play their stupid ball game without massive waste!?


Skellum t1_j0jc0f8 wrote

> Wait your take away from that was "golf courses use a lot of water" ?

Yes, I would value IT infastructure far more highly than golf courses. Especially so fucking few, only 29. That's kinda absurd.


mynameisalso t1_j0jgigm wrote

We all know that golf courses use a stupid/disgusting amount of water. That is why it was used as a comparison.

Your value if IT isn't the issue. This isn't about more or less IT. They could just use a different less wasteful system. But hey they are only one of the most powerful companies in the world so f it I guess.


WhatUp007 t1_j0js4lm wrote

>They could just use a different less wasteful system

Like? Data centers are designed to have as optimal efficiency as possible to reduce costs. I am sure Google would love to reduce that water bill.


mynameisalso t1_j0jsi0b wrote

They care about reducing money spent not water use. Obviously.


WhatUp007 t1_j0jsu13 wrote

Yes? Hence, my whole comment on how if a more efficient, less water usage system existed for data centers, it would've likly been used to save water, thus saving costs.


Figuurzager t1_j0kp2tu wrote

Buying water is most likely cheaper than other forms of cooling. Hence that's why they do it.


DecentChanceOfLousy t1_j0jnrjf wrote

Yes. Google throughout the entire US, providing email, search, video sharing, etc. uses water equal to roughly 30% of what Phoenix, alone, uses to water its golf courses (there are roughly 100 golf courses in Phoenix). The takeaway is either that Google's water use is inconsequential on the scale of the US or that we're spending way too much water on grass for a sport that uses so much land that most people use a motorized cart to play it.


ijustlurkhereintheAM t1_j0ieuax wrote

Seems like a lot of water. I wonder if they cool and reuse, or use once and drain?


adarkmethodicrash t1_j0ikaws wrote

Most of it is used for evaporative cooling. So it goes into the air.


TenderfootGungi t1_j0j9xk4 wrote

If that is true, then it would be possible to cool in other ways. A massive air cooler would work, but probably so big it would not be practical. Power plants build a lake. They then pump water from the lake, cool, then return the warm water to the lake. At least her in KS, the fish and the fishermen love it.


Has_hog t1_j0jetwu wrote

Rivers heat up by dumping back warm water. That is not good and the fish do not "love it" -- neither do fishermen lol. This is extremely well known and there is even a word for it, it's called "thermal pollution".


hithisispaul t1_j0jjdpo wrote

Well they said lake, not river.


upvoatsforall t1_j0jsphs wrote

Fish need very specific water temperatures to spawn in. Artificially heated lakes would require warmer climate fish for something like this to work. It would be interesting to see how it works.


hithisispaul t1_j0jx9lm wrote

I'm aware. The example given was a man made lake beside a powerplant in KS, so my guess is that this is a specific place where this has worked. I doubt they're trying to stock it with rainbows or brook trout.


rep- t1_j0jl06g wrote

Warm water is already destroying our salmon runs/spawns up here in the PNW..

Our main fish even in lakes are steelhead and trout and neither of them farewell in warm water.. it's why the south doesn't have a trout fishery.

But I do agree a cooling pond(contained) would be the way to go


SmokeyUnicycle t1_j0knjww wrote

oh they "farewell" alright

edit: this is a joke that the fish die, "farewell" is very different than "fare well" lol


Here_is_to_beer t1_j0igayz wrote

I assume the water is turned into steam keeping the hot things cool.


Drumphelstiltsken t1_j0ihnqk wrote

Do they vent that, though?

No idea, I just always assumed it was condensed again and reused. Like a “closed cycle” I guess?


BoomZhakaLaka t1_j0k821v wrote

Some evaporative cooling systems re-condense their own steam but even these ones lose water over time. A percentage of the steam escapes.

Older systems vent the steam straight out because that used to be the cheap way to do things.


rainniier2 t1_j0ini3h wrote

It would take energy to turn the steam back into water and energy is $$$.


bobjoylove t1_j0jkjmu wrote

Cooling tower. They are unpopular with residents because they look like chimneys.


Aggravating-Pear4222 t1_j0ixype wrote

Well, an increased rate of energy transfer either through active pumping of a coolant some other way which would lead to a need for more energy since passive cooling/condensation isn’t efficient in that scale (I assume so don’t listen to me but I get what you were originally saying)


lgmorrow t1_j0itf18 wrote

752,000 gallons a day........what do the citizens pay for water??? and what is google paying for their daily usage???


[deleted] t1_j0iwlat wrote



Xanthelei t1_j0iyexs wrote

Both the proposed new centers would be using water from the city water treatment plant, even if this one doesn't. Any increase in treatment costs should be sent to Google alone, not the citizens who aren't being given a choice in if these centers come to their city, seeing how the city council voted in favor before the public got to know the current water costs of just one. Meaning citizens couldn't bring their concerns up before the vote.


Joe_Biren t1_j0k2e7s wrote

If most of the cost of my water usage is for the wastewater treatment, why don't they gauge that?


poopsquisher t1_j0k3exw wrote

Because it's very easy and cheap to put a flow meter on your clean, full water pipe running into your house.

It's a royal pain in the rear maintenance nightmare to have thousands, tens of thousands, or in some cases hundreds of thousands of flow meters operating on much larger, partially filled pipes that can be carrying a wide variety of liquid and solid material running out of the houses for each sewer district. Far, far more expensive to purchase those meters and then to maintain them.


poul0004 t1_j0ip4ne wrote

Are they using groundwater? It's not clear in the article. The Dalles is right on the Columbia. Why wouldn't they draw from that vs groundwater?


CmdrShepard831 t1_j0jm7ya wrote

The guy mentioning his well being low is probably more to do with the droughts we've been having for years than someone pulling water from the Columbia.


astoundingSandwich t1_j0l8vpf wrote

"A lawsuit by the city on behalf of Google..."

What the horse shit is this? I'd be angry that your own city government is spending funds to protect a corporation.


TSL4me t1_j0m8n6h wrote

The problem is the entire surrounding community is in a drought.


Cfwydirk t1_j0ig60o wrote

Geothermal cooling needs regulation.


Coppercaptive t1_j0j2q8y wrote

I was speaking to our state legislature about something and geothermal regulation was before me. All these scientists trying to convince a bunch of politicians to care about the environment on issues they didn't have the brain power to understand was traumatizing.


buttergun t1_j0krz9s wrote

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it." -Upton Sinclair


swollennode t1_j0jv4lv wrote

“We’re releasing our numbers, because none of you can do anything about our water usage” —google.


omg2k t1_j0jaj74 wrote

Oh Oregon city little 'c', not Oregon City big 'c'.


CmdrShepard831 t1_j0jmfbo wrote

Those richers would never let an unsightly datacenter into their town.


artcook32945 t1_j0jvx17 wrote

So? Which is more important. Property Taxes, or Drinking Water for residence? If you are issuing Building Permits, it is Tax Money.


craftingakrabbypatty t1_j0ors4x wrote

You like bring a water bottle to work day and then you fill it up and then it's bring two water bottles to work day and you bring one so you bring two and and they say give your supervisor say give them they're a theythem and like I think they just forget but then it's always bring two and they forget and then I think like they were filling up a coca cola truck one day and then like idk why they filled it because we put them in the machine and then idk why we bring a bottle to work day when we get the soda I guess we're like on the same diet idk man I forget man


craftingakrabbypatty t1_j0oryys wrote

And then like it rains so idk why we don't just go outside and look up and then like idk my faucets taste better anyway so idk man


Stenwoldbeetle t1_j0j4ujm wrote

They're on the river. Why not build so that naturally works somehow?


kstinfo t1_j0iuvsu wrote

Why isn't this water recycled? And where does it go after Google has used it?


NickDanger3di t1_j0ixqlc wrote

One user suggests they are using evaporative cooling to cool the entire building, which is quite possible. On the other hand, using standard AC units would use zero water, but cost google more money.

Ironically, on the home google page, they proudly state Carbon neutral since 2007. Now we know how they manage that, huh?


xthorgoldx t1_j0jp9qc wrote

>cost more money

Y'all are fixating on this as if it's the damning element... But it's not "more money," it's "more energy."

Using a sealed cooling loop would preserve water, sure, but you'd be covering more electricity to arbitrate that heat transfer. Electricity has to come from somewhere.


Soft-Cryptographer-1 t1_j0j5m41 wrote

They use chiller units which are evap coolers. Indoor sports stadiums in my area don't need as many chillers as a single data center... Its pretty wild seeing them from the base of the structure, very death star canyon esque.


PumpDragn t1_j0k1tlz wrote

The short answer to this question is that they either pay a premium for “green” energy on grids where it is readily available, or subsidize by funding green energy projects across the nation to make these claims.

Is every watt used from a green source? Definitely not… are they really offsetting enough with subsidies to be truly carbon neutral? Hard to say. That is the goal though.


NickDanger3di t1_j0ixay2 wrote

They didn't build a google data center in the 60s, I'm pretty sure. Designing what is basically a warehouse full of computers when they could easily create the system to recycle whatever water they need to cool the CPUs seems rather ecologically unsound for something built recently.

Yes, it would cost google more money to recycle their coolant. That's not an excuse to trash the environment. Not like google isn't making money.


xthorgoldx t1_j0jon32 wrote

You have no idea what you're talking about. The water is being used for evaporative cooling, and what isn't used is recycled. Other methods for cooling might use less water but would use orders of magnitude more energy - in which case this article would be people complaining about Google's electricity footprint instead of water footprint.


PumpDragn t1_j0k1k35 wrote

For reals. The “best” solution to this problem is choosing the ideal location, and designing the hardware to withstand more extreme temperature/humidity limits.

The Dalles is pretty dry from what I understand, so they use the water to humidify AND cool the air. Building in a location where the outside air conditions are suitable for the servers year round is the best solution from a water usage standpoint.

However there are other challenges with that… such as the availability of usable energy, availability of a work force to build the data centers. If we located all data centers in these “ideal” regions, we would have latency issues for people further away, along with reliability issues caused by a high concentration of assets in a given location.

The google data center next door to me uses chillers for cooling and saves water as a result. As mentioned above, the trade off here is they use a significant amount of electricity, which may or may not be the more environmentally friendly solution depending on the source of their energy.

I’m not saying they can’t do better, but minimizing environmental impact is a huge priority for modern data center design, and they are constantly evaluating designs, and improving upon them for this reason.


MasterpieceLive9604 t1_j0iemv9 wrote

Google is the real evil empire


Here_is_to_beer t1_j0ighhf wrote

The Columbia River drains right into the Pacific. Millions of gallons of freshwater pour right into the ocean water. While it seems what google is doing is awfully wasteful, the water wasn't being used anyway.


Outlulz t1_j0iim3b wrote

The Columbia River is important for the salmon lifecycle. It already has it's own set of challenges because of the Bonneville Dam just downstream of The Dalles.


weed_fart t1_j0iiph8 wrote

If you'd bother to read the article, you'd see that they don't use Columbia River water - they take it from the ground and local snowmelt, which is decreasing as the climate warms. They're using up all the local sources of water.


JoeGoats t1_j0ii1wq wrote

Yes, no, maybe. The answer is it depends. It can affect water levels and flow rates down stream which may lead to the reduction of water rights or usage allotments down river. It can also be a huge problem if they're utilizing that much water for cooling and letting it flow back into the river at an increased temperature. Thermal pollution can have a big consequences on the river ecosystem.


Xanthelei t1_j0iypdz wrote

You must not live here if you really think the Columbian is "wasted fresh water." We've taken decades and multiple laws to protect the ecology of our rivers because the majority of the people living up here enjoy our wildlife and ecosystems. The river is a major part of that.

Water that is sustaining life is not "wasted" unless you don't give a shit about the life being sustained.


CmdrShepard831 t1_j0jmpe9 wrote

You're referring to people using it for farming and washing a bunch of fertilizer back into the river or dams blocking spawning flow. Some evaporative cooling isn't going to affect that much of the river (assuming they were pulling from it) and give the desert region some much needed moisture in the air.


Xanthelei t1_j0jpytx wrote

Good job showing your lack of knowledge on the history of conservation in the PNW. Or just history if the area in general, since you're referencing dams that were constructed in the 1930s and 1940s. The last damn built on the entire Columbian waterway system was 1975, and they weren't on the Columbian itself.

You should do some VERY basic googling before commenting.


CmdrShepard831 t1_j0jr9nh wrote

Literally nothing about this contradicts anything I've said, genius. You think you're the only person on reddit whose familiar with Oregon, the Columbia Gorge, or conservation efforts that have happened here? Who cares when the Bonneville dam was built? Are you really arguing that the only restoration acts or dam removals have been on the Columbia? Now who's being ignorant? 🙄


Xanthelei t1_j0jxo85 wrote

The people in charge in the 1930s are not the people in charge now. Your first comment acts like the half century between when we were actively building dams and now doesn't exist.


CmdrShepard831 t1_j0jz476 wrote

Anyone familiar with the situation would know in referring to the removal of previously built dams. When was the last time a damn even got built in the United States? Sorry I didn't know you needed every minute detail explained to you.