Data centres are draining the world’s water supplies


To support this campaign, Romonet has developed a Big Data and predictive analytics Platform that enables organisations to solve their water related sustainability, financial and operational challenges. Romonet’s Platform already accurately models and simulates data centre energy and total cost of ownership, and now provides the ability to precisely measure water efficiency, capacity, consumption and the cost of water. This lets organisations analyse and understand the trade-off between energy, cost and water consumption.

Data centre water consumption is rising rapidly as organisations trade improved power efficiency for unsustainable water usage practices. Massive amounts of water are pumped into data centre cooling towers for energy efficiency purposes, a strategy that is particularly prevalent in hot climates and desert regions where public water supplies are under enormous pressure. Furthermore, during the process water is often treated with a cocktail of industrial chemicals and later drained back into municipal sewage systems.

Any organisation that does not address its water consumption risks intense scrutiny from the general public, customers and shareholders; environmental lobbying groups such as Greenpeace; and from national and regional governments which are tasked with tackling large scale industrial usage and identifying ways to secure fresh water reserves for agricultural and national security purposes.

‘The efficient and judicious management of resources to power IT will only become more challenging in the next few years, and the ability to automate tasks and leverage analytics to drive decisions will be a competitive differentiator for data centre managers. Romonet’s Platform meets a critical need in the market for increased visibility into resource usage and management, in particular water consumption and cost,’ said Jennifer Cooke, research director at IDC.

California is a clear example. The Wall Street Journal reports there are 800 data centres consuming an estimated total of 158,000 Olympic sized swimming pools of water each year. This is in an American state overcoming one of its most severe droughts on record. Organisations in California and across the world must demonstrate a commitment to lowering water usage and production related processes such as transportation, logistics, filtration, recycling and long-term storage.

Zahl Limbuwala, CEO of Romonet, said, ‘Water is one of the largest threats to international stability and data centres are voluntarily using fresh water reserves as though they are infinite. With water subsidiaries ending and public pressure mounting, organisations cannot be frivolous with how they treat our environment.

‘Water is not merely a cost challenge, but a highly sensitive CSR objective. This challenge must be addressed now, not in the future when it is too late. Organisations should act positively before they potentially find themselves under the public spotlight for what some consider corporate mismanagement and environmental indifference.’

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