Noord-Holland data centers could cause drinking water shortage: report
Data centers in Noord-Holland use so much water to cool their equipment that they could cause a shortage of drinking water for households in the province in extreme cases, De Telegraaf reported based on internal documents from the province. According to the newspaper, the province deliberately decided to not publish a critical investigative report on this.
Two existing data centers in the municipality of Hollands Kroon consume an estimated 525 cubic meters of drinking water per hour, officials said according to the newspaper. That amounts to 4.6 million cubic meters per year - about equal to the water consumption of 28 thousand four-person households, according to figures from Nibud.
The municipality wants to grant permits for five new data centers to be built, according to the newspaper. If the estimates are correct, that would increase the consumption of cooling water by about 10 million cubic meters per year. Which could cause a freshwater shortage during extreme weather conditions, was said in an online webinar the province held, according to the Telegraaf.
The province of Noord-Holland denied that it deliberately kept a critical report under wraps. A spokesperson told the newspaper that the province did indeed commission a study into the water consumption by data centers and the consequences of drier summers on the water supply. But the sample of that study was too small and the conclusions of the report therefore insufficiently substantiated, the spokesperson said. That was why the report was not published, they said.