WSJ.com has an article on the next footprint to watch – Water.
Yet Another 'Footprint' to Worry About: Water
Taking a Cue From Carbon Tracking, Companies and Conservationists Tally Hidden Sources of Consumption
It takes roughly 20 gallons of water to make a pint of beer, as much as 132 gallons of water to make a 2-liter bottle of soda, and about 500 gallons, including water used to grow, dye and process the cotton, to make a pair of Levi's stonewashed jeans.
Though much of that water is replenished through natural cycles, a handful of companies have started tracking such "water footprints" as a growing threat of fresh-water shortages looms. Some are measuring not just the water used to make beverages and cool factories, but also the gallons used to grow ingredients such as cotton, sugar, wheat, tea and tomatoes. The drive, modeled partly on carbon footprinting, a widely used measurement of carbon-dioxide emissions, comes as groundwater reserves are being depleted and polluted at unsustainable rates in many regions. Climate change has caused glaciers to shrink, eroding vital sources of fresh water. And growing global demand for food and energy is placing even more pressure on diminishing supplies.
See how a variety of common products stack up when it comes to water use.
Two-thirds of the world's population is projected to face water scarcity by 2025, according to the United Nations. In the U.S., water managers in 36 states anticipate shortages by 2013, a General Accounting Office report shows. Last year, Georgia lawmakers tried, unsuccessfully, to move the state's border north so that Georgia could claim part of the Tennessee River.
Lately, water footprinting has gained currency among corporations seeking to protect their agricultural supply chains and factory operations from future water scarcity. Next week, representatives from about 100 companies, including Nike Inc., PepsiCo Inc., Levi Strauss & Co. and Starbucks Corp., will gather in Miami for a summit on calculating and shrinking corporate water footprints. In December, a coalition of scientists, companies and development agencies launched the Water Footprint Network, an international nonprofit
They didn’t discuss data centers in this article, but I am sure someone will take notice soon.
I was surprised to see they discussed the use of models to understand the impact.
Water-management experts have started to build models for "water offset" projects so that beverage companies and other heavy water users can soften their impact by funding water sanitation and conservation projects. PepsiCo recently piloted a program to help rice farmers cultivating 4,000 acres in India switch from flood irrigation to direct seeding, a planting method that requires less water and makes crops more resilient to drought.
Some of the people I have met who focus on modeling software are busier than ever and understand that Energy and Water use need to be built into Green Data Center Models.