Microsoft comes a long way with Water use in Quincy, Transfers water treatment plant to City of Quincy

When Microsoft's Quincy data center opened, I was able to get a tour of the data center.  One of the questions I asked is how much water does the data center use.  I asked the data center operations staff, they didn't know.  I asked the data center design team, they didn't know either.  And, a response was why do you want to know?  Because I think you use lots of water, and it is an issue in a green data center.

When I went back out to the data center a few months later, the data center operation team said they are storing blow-down water in tanks, and they have 6 months before the tanks fill up.  This problem was not unique to Microsoft as other data center operators had blow-down water that cannot be put into the waste stream.

A water treatment plant was built to reduce the environmental impact.  And now, Microsoft has put a plan in place to transfer the water treatment plant to the City of Quincy.

Microsoft’s Data Center Takes Fresh Approach On Water Reuse

Today we are transferring our $ multi-million water treatment plant to city of Quincy, WA

By: Christian Belady, General Manager of Data Center Advanced Development

Around the globe, water is becoming a scarcer and more valuable commodity, and that’s an important factor for data center operators and cloud service providers to consider as consumers and businesses aggressively adopt cloud-based computing. It’s even more critical that all of us in the industry make sure that beyond building sustainability into our designs, running data centers to higher standardize efficiencies, and measuring impact constantly, that we are helping the industry at large in thinking out of the box.

Today offers one of those opportunities. In Quincy, Washington, we are taking steps to transfer the operations of our Water Treatment Plant, located on our data center site, to the City of Quincy. This project involves innovative agreements for promoting a long term sustainable use of a limited natural resource, water, in a desert area that has the added benefit of supporting the foundation of Quincy and Grant County’s growing economy for years to come. To my knowledge, it is the first known transfer of a water treatment plant to a municipality in our industry and I would like to share why I think this type of collaborative project helps the industry and environment benefit as a whole.

Microsoft’s Quincy, Washington Water Treatment Plant

Google's Joe Kava discussed water use in data centers in its 2009 data center summit.  Joe's presentation on water start at the 9:20 mark.

A green data center has smart water use in addition to efficient power and cooling systems.