Google in the hot seat in SC: Big data sucks in big water

Google in the hot seat in SC: Big data sucks in big water
It seems like such a nice place. The water-hogging Google Data Center in South Carolina. (Image: Google Street View)

[Ed. – An interesting conundrum for “environmentalists” who want to smarten us all up by tracking and manipulating our lives using…big data.]

“[W]ater wars” are erupting in South Carolina, and that’s why the withdrawals by high-tech companies like Google are so controversial.

Forty million gallons of surface water per day now are pumped to customers by the Berkeley Water and Sanitation utility. Google, the marquee computer network company, apparently uses one-tenth of it — about 4 million gallons — to cool the servers at its only South Carolina data center, in Goose Creek.

Now Google wants to draw 1.5 million gallons per day from an aquifer under the coastal region to help cool the servers after a planned expansion — a volume that would make it the third largest aquifer user in the three counties around Charleston, according to South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control records.

The move is opposed by residents, conservationists and nearby water utility officials. …

Google has been tight-lipped about its Goose Creek operations, as it has at other centers. It has a non-disclosure agreement with Berkeley County Water and Sanitation. The utility does not release how much water the company uses or how much it pays.

The agreement was negotiated because Google considers the details a trade secret, according to county spokeswoman Hannah Moseley. The company is the only one of the top 10 users that is not disclosed, she said.

In a Water and Sanitation report requested by The Post and Courier, the only “undisclosed customer” in the top 10 list is the second biggest user.

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