‘Drinking water being used to cool London data centres’

Data centres across London are using drinking water to prevent overheating, Thames Water has confirmed

Big Zero Report 2022

UK’s largest water and wastewater services company Thames Water has launched a probe into the water use of data centres across London as drinking water is being used to cool the operations of these facilities.

The news comes as Thames Water’s hosepipe ban has come into force, affecting millions of customers in London and Thames Valley.

In a statement, John Hernon, Thames Water Strategic Development Manager, said: “We know there is increased demand for data centres and we have started a targeted exercise to understand how much water is used by them.

“We want to work collaboratively with new centres to reduce their overall water usage and ensure there is enough water for everyone.

“Our main objective is to reduce the amount of water required to run a data centre. It is not necessary for data centres to use potable water (drinking quality) for cooling. We want to look at how raw water (non-drinking water) can be used and reused.”

A research paper titled A Circular Economy for the Data Centre Industry, published in June 2021, estimated that the sector consumed the equivalent of 120,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools every year for cooling purposes.

ELN contacted Thames Water for more information on its review.

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