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Water scarcity pinned as a major threat to data centre growth

16 Oct 2018
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Forecasts for the future seem to be increasingly bleak with growing shortages of our natural and essential resources.

One of these is water, an issue that Ecolab Asia Pacific (specifically Thailand, Indochina, and Philippines) vice president and managing director Kah Min Chen delved into at this year’s Data Centre World conference.

Chen quoted the annual U.N. World Water Development Report that projects by 2030 global demand for fresh water will exceed available supplies by 40 percent.

And another stat to throw into the mix, (using one region as an example), the Asia Pacific data centre market is expected to surge by 27 percent annually through to 2021, according to the Spotlight on Asia Pacific’s Primary Data Centre Markets report from JLL.

Chen says the industry is making giant strides in innovation, but water scarcity is looming as a great threat to its reliability and growth. Speaking at the conference, Chen asserted it’s an issue that Ecolab is looking to tackle.

"Ecolab touches 1.5 billion digital users daily through our water treatment programs," says Chen.

"Globally, Ecolab's cooling water technologies helped save 582 billion liters of water in 2017 -- equivalent to the yearly drinking water needs of more than 530 million people."

Specific products that Ecolab has produced for data centres include automated water performance systems like its 3D TRASAR Cooling Water Technology, which continuously monitors the cooling system and resolves problems with smart digital technology and connected chemistry to deliver actionable insights.

"Water scarcity is a significant risk to business growth, but sustainable water management is within reach through innovative solutions,” says Chen.

On top of this, the company provides 24/7 monitoring from connected engineers to tackle issues that require human intervention.

An example of a company benefiting from water technologies is Microsoft and its data centre in San Antonio, the United States. The facility was facing constraints in water quantity and quality.

Using a number of solutions from Ecolab, the data centre was able to reduce potable water by 227 million litres and save $140,000 in annual water costs in the process.

"Properly treating water is vital to protecting our precious fresh water resources while ensuring efficient and reliable operations," says Chen.

"At Ecolab, we offer the tools, technology and expertise to help customers adopt smart water management, so they are ready for an increasingly water-scarce world."