At last week’s Data Centre World in Singapore, the largest industry event in Asia, water technology provider Ecolab discussed sustainable solutions to address the freshwater crisis and examples of how data centres have successfully reduced water consumption.

Demand for natural resources is exceeding supply at an alarming rate, not least when it comes to our most fundamental resource – water. By 2030, global demand for fresh water is expected to exceed available supplies by 40 per cent.

Running parallel to our increasing water consumption is the mushrooming of data centres all over the world, that rely on large volumes of water to cool their racks and servers.

It is increasingly obvious that unless new technologies and strategies are enacted on a broad scale, data centre water consumption will not only be unsustainable but play a large role in accelerating a water crisis.

Kai Min Chen, VP and Managing Director of Ecolab Thailand, Indochina and Philippines, took to the stage at Data Centre World Asia to explain how Ecolab’s technologies are helping data centres reduce water consumption. 

He said automated water performance systems such as 3d TRASAR, which continuously monitors cooling and solves related problems, will match Asia’s data centre growth with sustainable water use.

Across the globe, 40,000 3D TRASAR units have been deployed to over 16,000 customer sites, generating 48 billion data points per year.

“Water scarcity is a significant risk to business growth, but sustainable water management is within reach through innovative solutions like 3D TRASAR Cooling Water Technology,” Chen said.

“Globally, Ecolab’s cooling water technologies helped save 582 billion litres of water in 2017 – equivalent to the yearly drinking water needs of more than 530 million people,” he added.

Chen also discussed how Nalco Water, an Ecolab company, helped Microsoft’s data centre in San Antonio, US – which faced constraints in water quantity and quality – reduce water use and costs.

Chen also revealed details of “Water Risk Monetizer”, a new public tool Ecolab has developed in collaboration with Trucost and Microsoft that helps users understand how water availability will impact their business.

Using both the Water Risk Monetizer and 3D TRASAR technology, Nalco Water helped Microsoft’s San Antonio data centre reduce potable water use by 227 million litres and save $140,000 in water costs annually.

Data centre operators are wising up to the ecological dangers caused by increased centre construction around the world. Microsoft has experimented with submerging its data centres underwater to facilitate cooling.