We primarily use water to cool our data centers. Sometimes that means we must increase our water consumption in order to achieve higher energy savings. We always strive to balance the use of both water and energy in the most efficient way.
To conserve potable sources in drought-prone California, we use recycled water at the SV4 data center in Santa Clara. The water is treated to high standards set by the California Department of Public Health and is delivered to us by the city in separate pipelines. We utilize it for cooling, landscaping, and in water closets.
Rainwater is a renewable natural resource that can also increase the resilience of our data centers. In 2017 we started working towards commissioning an 80,000-gallon collecting cistern on our VA2 data center. It will not only act as a secondary water source but also facilitate a seamless transition to rainwater should an issue occur with our city water. The cistern is expected to save about a half million gallons of water per year.