A new method for purifying water for urban settings is known as Google Cloud to Street water technology. This technology takes waste water from nearby canals and treats it in a 20,000 square foot facility. The water is then filtered to remove sediment and recycle the solids. The water then goes through a system that uses a piping system beneath the city to a data center.
The initial design of the system consisted of a printed circuit board. The throughput of the system was one microliter per minute, equivalent to one droplet of water. With improved engineering, the team was able to increase throughput and the accuracy of their calculations. The team was able to process a few hundred litres of water in an hour. However, it was not an easy task, and it required a significant psychological shift to get the system to work in the city.
The technology has the potential to save millions of gallons of water a year. Google has already earned a Recycled Water Customer Award from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Google is utilizing recycled water in its “Spruce Goose” facility, which was once home to a Howard Hughes H-4 Hercules aircraft hangar. It is now used by Google for its office space and development projects.
Google and Microsoft are both keen on publicising their efforts to reduce their water consumption. They publish their water consumption and water withdrawal figures. However, they fail to publish comparable data about their water projects. The same goes for other companies. It would be beneficial to know how many gallons of water Google uses in its data centers. If these companies were serious about reducing their carbon footprints, they should consider publishing more detailed information about their water consumption.