2 min read.Updated: 10 Sep 2021, 06:41 AM ISTLivemint
Google consumed 3.4 billion gallons of water in 2019, its most recent disclosure
Google uses water to cool its data centers' stacks of computers that store and process search queries, YouTube videos and other data
Alphabet Inc's Google aims to replenish 20% more water than its offices and data centers use by 2030, the company said on Thursday, addressing concerns about water-guzzling tech facilities amid record droughts.
"We are pledging to a water stewardship target to replenish more water than we consume by 2030 and support water security in communities where we operate," Google Chief Sustainability Officer Kate Brandt wrote in a blog post. "This means Google will replenish 120% of the water we consume, on average, across our offices and data centers."
Brandt said the tech giant is focusing on three areas to replenish water.
"We’re focusing on three areas: enhancing our stewardship of water resources across Google office campuses and data centers, replenishing our water use and improving watershed health and ecosystems in water-stressed communities; sharing technology and tools that help everyone predict, prevent and recover from water stress," she added.
Google consumed 3.4 billion gallons of water in 2019, its most recent disclosure. The search engine giant said that 20% goal reflects what is needed to return regions with high or extremely high water scarcity to a normal level.
Google said it uses water to cool its data centres that make products like Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps and Search possible.
Researchers have said a shift is needed as climate change worsens droughts worldwide. The Mountain View, California-based company's data centers are located around the globe.
Google plans to reach its new target by using less water at its buildings and then helping with conservation in surrounding communities, starting with those where water is especially scarce.
Google's new measures include collecting stormwater for flushing toilets and funding removal of water-hungry invasive plants. In Southern California, Google is even helping to install toilet leak detection technology in low-income housing, to cut waste and keep the water cycling through plumbing systems.
Google will continue to help vendors reduce consumption, it said.
“In partnership with others, we’ll invest in community projects that replenish 120% of the water we consume, on average, across all Google offices and data centers, and that improve the health of the local watersheds where our office campuses and data centers are located," Google said in a statement.
Recently, Google partnered with the United Nations Environment Programme and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) to create the Freshwater Ecosystems Explorer. This tool tracks surface water changes over time on a national and local scale.
Google provided funding for Global Water Watch that provides real-time indicators for current and future water management needs.
Microsoft Corp a year ago and Facebook Inc last month both announced goals of being water positive by 2030 without specifying a replenishment target.
Google said in September 2020 it planned to run its offices and data centers on carbon-free energy around the clock by 2030.
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