Microsoft’s data centre consumes massive amount of water

  • Microsoft’s data centre at Goodyear, Arizona, will consume an estimated 56 million gallons of water a year, straining the local water supply.
  • If more data centres are allowed to open, the desert towns face the risk of water depletion.

The excessive water and energy consumption by AI data centres, like Microsoft’s in Arizona, raises sustainability concerns. The rapid growth of AI, cloud computing, and cryptocurrency mining exacerbates the strain on resources, demanding urgent innovation for more efficient and eco-friendly solutions.

— Iris Deng, BTW reporter

Microsoft’s Arizona data centre is causing massive electronic and water consumption, leading to local natural resource tension and environmental pollution, according to a new report.

Microsoft’s data centre in Arizona consumed 56 million gallons of water, exposing localities to severe water scarcity

The 279-acre campus in Goodyear will consume an estimated 56 million gallons of water a year, as much as 670 families need for a year, according to a report in The Atlantic. The plant was opened in 2021 with two buildings as a collaboration between Microsoft and OpenAI. Now it is planning for the third building.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has a large electricity demand, which in turn generates massive heat, so water is needed to cool the serves. The plant is located in Arizona, where already grappling with extreme weather, droughts, and high temperatures, so the strain on resources is becoming more evident.

Last summer was Phoenix’s hottest on record, with 55 days of temperatures over 110 degrees, stretching the grid to the max.

Attorney General Kris Mayes told the Atlantic: “Allowing one more data centre to come to our state is an easy but stupid decision in a lot of cases.”

Also read: Microsoft the latest to waive cloud egress fees

Microsoft is evasive about the issue

Facing this issue, Microsoft refused to provide an accurate figure on their Goodyear centre’s water use, according to The Atlantic. They reportedly redacted exact figures in city records, saying it is “proprietary” information.

However, they did provide an estimate that it will use 56 million gallons of water a year once the third building is completed.

Arizona is not the only state encountering this problem. AI industry data plants nation-wide are facing the matter. According to researchers at UC Riverside last year, global AI tech will lead to 1.7 trillion gallons of freshwater consumption by 2027.

The tension between the growth of the AI industry and the environment must be resolved immediately

With the surging development in AI, cloud computing, and cryptocurrency mining, data centres are placing significant strain on both water and electricity resources.

While the AI industry is focusing on technological development, it should also pay attention to solving the environmental problems it brings out. As the demand for AI technology continues to rise, it becomes imperative for companies and governments to collaborate on sustainable practices and energy-efficient alternatives to ensure the long-term viability of such advancements while minimizing the strain on vital resources.


Iris Deng

Iris Deng, an intern reporter at BTW media dedicated in Fintech and Blockchain. She is studying English at Hangzhou Dianzi University. Send tips to

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