Google’s Latest Environmental Report Raises Alarm As Company’s Water Use Soars To New High

Alphabet’s leading search engine website, Google has launched the latest version of its environmental report. And it’s safe to mention that the current stats for water use are not exactly where the company would want them to be.

Think along the lines of alarm bells ringing because water use keeps on increasing. To give you a clearer picture, think along the lines of the firm taking in 5.6 billion gallons in terms of water consumption throughout 2022. And to better put that into perspective, it’s like linking that to 37 golf courses.

Most of the water is used to maintain the tech giant’s data centers and when compared to figures from the previous year, it’s close to a 20% rise. Most importantly, this figure is providing a huge reminder to all of us that the cost of using such data centers is detrimental to the environment and that often use huge figures for water as it’s needed to keep such places cool.

And as one can imagine, the tech firm is one of the many leading organizations that wish to speed ahead in the AI domain. Therefore, we’re not seeing the figures for water consumption decline anytime soon. In fact, the opposite is going to be true.

The mega 20% rise in water usage has a lot to do with the rise in the tech giant’s computing capacity. And most of it is linked to the drive to succeed in AI. This was a statement made by a top professor at a leading California-based engineering university, Shaolei Ren.

Ren added how he is seeing this use as one that’s not sustainable for the future, despite tech giant Google’s push to replenish the water to curb the excess being used.

Speaking to media outlet Insider, he added how that might appear as if their figures for water usage seem more appealing but the amount used is still the same and the effects are just as drastic.

Tech giant Google mentioned how it was keeping 2023 as its deadline target to replace most of the freshwater supplies it consumed in places like data centers. For now, it’s replacing nearly 6%, as per its personal reporting.

Most of the water supplies that the tech giant uses are said to be potable and that means it’s as clean as can be, even safe for human consumption.

Moreover, the tech giant adds how it does not neglect its behavior and takes full accountability for its actions. It shed light on how 82% of removal from freshwater supplies last year arose through places where the levels of water stress were low.

But despite what the Android maker may state and how optimistic it may be, experts feel that increasing sustainability in the future is not going to be possible at this rate of usage. Google wants to offset the large figures linked to usage but it’s easier said than done, they added.

Furthermore, the tech giant says that by the year 2030, its goal is to replenish 120% of all freshwater sources that it’s consuming right now in so many of its locations including the growing number of data centers. But at this point in time, that figure stands at just 6% which is concerning for obvious reasons.

And if most of the water it uses is as clean as can be for drinking purposes, you can only imagine how that’s another question worth raising as so much wastage is not feasible. After all, it’s a time when sustainability should be at the top of every organization’s priority list.

Photo: Google's data center in Douglas County, Georgia.
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