Interesting analysis in the Wall Street Journal of the current water use of California’s 800 commercial computer data centers:
California’s data centers consume 158,000 Olympic sized swimming pools of water per year, or 104,280,000,000 gallons of water per year. That sounds like a lot. Enough, in fact, that one might wonder what else might consume that much water every year.
It turns out that a single day’s supply of newspaper newsprint requires about 300,000,000 gallons of water. Multiply by 365 days per year, producing the US’s annual consumption of newsprint consumes 109,500,000,000 gallons of water per year.
109,500,000,000 gallons per year for US newsprint > 104,280,000,000 gallons for California data centers. Interesting! Of course newsprint consumption is falling due to substitution by online media! And we know online news is a very small % of online use.
So, for a small fraction of the water use by data centers, over time we can likely eliminate nearly all of the water use for newsprint, not to mention reducing the deforestation caused by newsprint production. Less tree use, less water use = environmental win/win! It’s interesting to consider what other current environmental resource uses will be reduced or eliminated by data centers and online media!