When Facebook’s proposed $800 million data center in Mesa, Ariz., was proposed, it drew strong criticism with fears that it would require enormous amounts of water for cooling in a region suffering from a water shortage.
The social media giant, responding to those fears, said it would include three water restoration projects. The efforts, the company says, will restore more than 200 million gallons of water per year in the Colorado River and Salt River basins.
Facebook said the 960,000 sf facility will use 60% less water than the typical data center due to extensive use of fresh air for cooling. The company added that it will not draw water rights from the city of Mesa.
Roughly 80% of the state of Arizona is facing severe drought conditions and it is expected to lose about one-fifth of its Colorado River water supply next year. Facebook also says it will work with local utility Salt River Project to add 50 megawatts of solar energy to the grid.