Microsoft aims to drastically reduce its data center water usage over the next three years.
The company hopes to cut around 5.7 billion liters from its evaporative cooled data centers globally, reducing consumption by 95 percent by 2024. It has a wider aim of being water positive by 2030.
Part of the way Microsoft will reduce water usage is by running its data centers hotter in some regions, which could completely eliminate water use for cooling in regions like Amsterdam, Dublin, Virginia, and Chicago, while reducing water use in desert regions like Arizona by as much as 60 percent.
In a blog post, the company said that it is still exploring liquid cooling and immersion cooling, something it detailed earlier this year. "Based on our tests, we’ve found that for some chipsets, the performance can increase by 20 percent through the use of liquid cooling," thanks to overclocking.
Microsoft promised to develop bespoke water reduction solutions for the environments around its data centers. This will start with planting a lowland forested area and wetlands around its northern Holland data center, which it hopes could restore 'ecosystem performance' by 75 percent.
As part of this, the company "has been benchmarking the ecosystem performance in 12 datacenter regions, to be completed by end of the calendar year. Through this research, we are quantifying ecosystem performance in terms of water quantity and quality, air, carbon, climate, soil quality, health and well-being, and biodiversity."