London: Thames Water launches probe into data center water use in London

Aug 30, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

It has been revealed that Thames Water has launched a probe into the water use of data centers in the UK's capital,  following the utility company’s discovery that UK data centers have been using drinking water to cool down their servers. The news of review comes as the UK’s hosepipe ban comes into effect. One of the areas that will come under scrutiny in the review is Slough, which contains the largest concentration of data centers in Europe.

Speaking about the need for a regulator or government led-investigation into the impact of data center water usage, the Conservative chair of the House of Commons environment, food and rural affairs select committee, Sir Robert Goodwill MP, committed: “As more and more data centers spring up we need to figure out what their demands will be and what the impacts will be on other consumers.”

John Hernon, strategic development manager at Thames Water, told the Financial Times added that it “isn’t necessary” for data centers to use drinking quality water for cooling. He said: “We want to look at how raw, non-drinking water can be used and reused.”

That said, news of this probe comes as the utility company is accused of losing over 600 million liters of water a day, which is reportedly nearly a quarter of its daily supplies. Speaking about this controversy, Nick Bowes of the Centre for London told the Telegraph that focusing on the water usage of data centers “feels like a distraction” when the “top priorities should be the amount of water lost every day through leaks in Thames Water’s network.”

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