Google’s next environmental goal after committing to being carbon-free 24/7 worldwide by 2030 is focused on water and replenishing more of it than its offices and data centers use. 

This water stewardship target sees Google commit to replenishing (on average) 120% of the water it consumes. Data centers require a lot of water for cooling, and the company already uses reclaimed wastewater. It will increase that practice of finding freshwater alternatives, including seawater, moving forward. Meanwhile, Google’s data centers in Storey County, Nevada, and Dublin, Ireland, use air-cooled technology instead of water.

Meanwhile, campuses will use more on-site water sources, like treated wastewater and collected stormwater, for landscape irrigation, cooling, and toilet flushing. The company has been working towards this for years at its San Francisco Bay Area headquarters.

To give back more water than it uses, Google is partnering in community projects that “improve the health of the local watersheds where our office campuses and data centers are located.” This involves measuring water availability and community access:

For example, we’re working with the Colorado River Indian Tribes project to reduce the amount of water that is withdrawn from Lake Mead reservoir on the Colorado River in Nevada and Arizona. In Dublin, Ireland, we’re installing rainwater harvesting systems to reduce stormwater flows to improve water quality in the River Liffey and the Dublin Bay. And in Los Angeles, we’re investing in efforts to remove water-thirsty invasive species to help the nearby ecosystem in the San Gabriel mountains.

Lastly, Google is creating and funding water-related tools for communities, policymakers, and planners: Freshwater Ecosystems Explorer, OpenET, Global Water Watch, and BlueConduit.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: