Google has announced new measures as part of its water stewardship programme to address concerns about its water-guzzling tech facilities amid record droughts. The tech giant is aiming to replenish on average 120 percent of the water used by its offices and data centers use by 2030.
“We are pledging to a water stewardship target to replenish more water than we consume by 2030 and support water security in communities where we operate,” Google Chief Sustainability Officer Kate Brandt wrote in a blog. “This means Google will replenish 120% of the water we consume, on average, across our offices and data centers.”
The search engine behemoth uses water to cool its data centers’ stacks of computers that store and process search queries, YouTube videos and other data. Researchers have said a shift is needed as climate change worsens droughts worldwide.
As part of its efforts to replenish more water, the company says it will also invest in community projects working to address local water and watershed challenges in places where the company has data centers and offices.
In its most recent disclosure, Google said it had consumed 3.4 billion gallons of water in 2019. Speaking with news agency Reuters, the company said it had not yet started tracking replenishment rates. But it added that its 20% goal reflects what is needed to return regions with high or extremely high water scarcity to a normal level.
The latest move comes days after Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the teach giant would attempt to run all of its data centers and offices entirely on carbon-free energy by 2030. Microsoft and Facebook have also announced goals of being water positive by 2030 without specifying a replenishment target.