NPR

Google Moves In And Wants To Pump 1.5 Million Gallons Of Water Per Day

The company says it needs that much water to cool its servers at a South Carolina data center. Now, community leaders are having to balance economic benefits with environmental impact.
Clay Duffie of Mount Pleasant Waterworks says in some ways he's pleased the debate over Google's data center is heightening local awareness about the long-term sustainability of the water supply. "It's raised the issue that these resources are not limitless," he said. Source: Sarah McCammon

When three sacred staples of the South weren't safe from the cloudy, salty water in his town, Clay Duffie knew there was a problem.

"It'd kill your azaleas if you irrigated with it; your grits would come out in a big clump, instead of creamy like they should," Duffie said.

Even the sweet tea.

"Your tea would come out all cloudy," Duffie said. "Oh man, it was bad news."

Duffie, the general manager of Mount Pleasant Waterworks, said before his agency outside Charleston began purifying the water in the early 1990s, the water was also soft; you'd come out of the shower and still feel dirty, he recalled.

Today, Duffie

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min read
'This Way Up' Deserves A Spot On Your Crowded Viewing List
It can be hard not to miss lower-profile streaming shows. But This Way Up, a comedy created by Irish actress Aisling Bea and streaming on Hulu, has a sweet and funny story to tell.
NPR4 min read
Unanswered Questions Leave Californians Worried About Fire Season
Warm temperatures have Californians again bracing for wildfires. But to better prepare, the residents of Ventura say they need a clearer picture of what went wrong in the destructive 2017 Thomas Fire.
NPR2 min read
China Confirms British Consulate Employee Held On 'Administrative Detention'
Hong Kong resident Simon Cheng disappeared on Aug. 8 during a business trip to neighboring Shenzhen. A Chinese official confirmed his arrest on Wednesday, saying it is an internal matter for Beijing.