Who gets the water decides the region’s future, its development and livability. That’s why "water wars" are erupting in South Carolina, and that’s why the withdrawals by high-tech companies like Google are so controversial.
Forty million gallons of surface water per day now are pumped to customers by the Berkeley Water and Sanitation utility. Google, the marquee computer network company, apparently uses one-tenth of it — about 4 million gallons — to cool the servers at its only South Carolina data center, in Goose Creek.
Now Google wants to draw 1.5 million gallons per day from an aquifer under the coastal region to help cool the servers after a planned expansion — a volume that would make it the third largest aquifer user in the three counties around Charleston, according to South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control records.
The move is opposed by residents, conservationists, and nearby water utility officials. It’s become the most recent water controversy to erupt in South Carolina as thirst intensifies with the demands of new industries, corporate farms, and residents. How the state decides the Google dispute has wide-ranging repercussions.
Aquifers are massive, interconnected layers underground that are […]