Water Issues of the Southwest USA
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 at 12:34PM

It seems that there are reports about the dire water conditions of the Southwest United States at least once a month.  Each state is vying for more water use to support their agriculture, domestic, and power needs.  Water levels in Lake Mead and Lake Powell have dropped enormously and evidence of this can be readily seen in comparison pictures by journalist John Fleck.  Nice graphics of the water in the west can be seen at Dean Farrell's site too.

But the states are moving to ensure that they will have water now and for the future.  While there may be water shortages that require Arizona and Nevada to enforce water saving measures similar to California, they have been outlining plans based on past legislation:

Many have wondered how this will affect the data center industry, as much of the cooling is done evaporatively with water.  Currently the impact has been to operational costs.  Water costs money, and with conditions expected to plateau or increase over the next 30 years those costs are only going to increase.  Although we might not see the results now the impact of a megadrought, a desert-like drought lasting decades, could shut doors on businesses throughout the Southwest just to save water. 

Cooling towers, the need for most of the data center water, may have a mandatory minimum of six cycles of concentration, a big step up from the typical two.  Scaling and fouling of equipment then becomes a challenge of facilities operators, likely via filtration and higher levels of chemical treatment.  Another impact to this operation is that more cooling tower water will need to come from non-potable (greywater or similar) sources.  These considerations all play into the reliability of the data center facility as well as the operational cost. 

Article originally appeared on Green Data Center Man (http://greendatacenterman.squarespace.com/).
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