June 20, 2021

DROUGHT-STRICKEN COMMUNITIES PUSH BACK AGAINST DATA CENTERS: As cash-strapped cities welcome Big Tech to build hundreds of million-dollar data centers in their backyards, critics question the environmental cost.

“We are going to experience a drier and more water-scare future, and every drop of water counts,” said Newsha Ajami, director of urban water policy at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment. “It’s not just Amazon, Microsoft and Google causing these water footprints. But it’s you and me, searching and needing data that ends up in these data centers.”

Ajami said that water has been historically undervalued as a resource in part because it has been cheap for companies to purchase. While many industries have taken great leaps in reducing their electricity use and carbon footprints, they lag behind in water efficiency throughout their supply chains, she said.

“We often overlook the communities impacted, who are often disadvantaged,” she added. “If it was a wealthy community, maybe they wouldn’t allow the data centers to be built in their backyard.”

Curiously though, NBC News.com, the source of the above article, doesn’t recommend that their readers conserve their Internet use by not going to NBC News.com, nor are they planning to voluntarily shutter their server farms and studio locations anytime soon.

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