Water used for cooling operations is critical to data center management. A multi-disciplinary team evaluated the security of alternative future water supplies given different jurisdictions, drought restrictions, and local trends in climate and economic growth.
A multidisciplinary Ramboll team of natural resource economists, hydrologists, and water resource managers worked with the client to analyze water rights and water management alternatives for a large data center. The study identified the risks associated with the cooling water supply at a current data center and assisted in scoping and siting potential water resources for an expanded facility. The analyses reviewed how water is appropriated and managed at current and potential alternative locations, all relevant state(s) laws and regulations, governing authority of water supply, and interstate compacts and agreements.
Ramboll identified historic periods of low flows in the area and considered the reasons behind these, including dam management and droughts. The team evaluated seasonal fluctuations in supplies, as well as alternative storage options. Trends in water availability were forecast given changing climatic conditions, as well as economic and population growth.
In addition, Ramboll reviewed standard practices for municipalities, agriculture, and industrial facilities when faced with drought conditions. Specifically, the team examined the main triggers for such actions, what entities have the authority to impose actions such as water use restrictions, and what regulations and protocols are in place to govern these actions. Finally, Ramboll provided the client with a list of options for securing more reliable water supplies for the current and proposed future locations.
As droughts increase and climate change alters hydrologic processes and extreme events, assessing the resiliency of water supplies is increasing. Ramboll continues to conduct these assessments for clients concerned about future availability of secure water supplies.