Water for Data Centers: Market Trends and Forecasts, 2023–2030

9 Jun 2023
Available with corporate subscription

Scaling demand for cloud-based data and service offerings—shaped by machine learning, cryptocurrency, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices—are growing in number and size, globally. The transition from on-site server rooms to million-square-foot, third-party facilities, better known as hyperscale data centers, presents widespread implications for water demand, water management solutions, and local authorities.

As larger, hyperscale data centers are built to keep pace with demand, their water demands are stretching the limits of local power and water infrastructure. A single data center can use millions of gallons per day, primarily for cooling. Hyperscale data centers, currently estimated at 728 facilities globally are expected to reach over 1,000 by the end of 2024. The proliferation of hyperscale data center facilities presents an opportunity for water management solution providers, particularly as their deployment expands into new and water-stressed geographies.

Bluefield’s forecast methodology considers a variety of key market and macroeconomic variables, including data center trends, inflationary pressures, facility-level usage, and policy incentives. This report lays out Bluefield’s 2023–2030 forecast for capital expenditures (CAPEX) and operating expenditures (OPEX). The forecast focuses on water usage, geographic differences, and key opportunities.

Table of Contents

Section 1:

  • Defining the Data Center Landscape
  • Data Center Demand Heightens
  • Data Center Energy Usage Shifts toward Hyperscale
  • Policy to Maintain Data Center Hubs
  • Funding New Data Centers for Mid-Market Companies Drives Stability
  • Data Centers Expand in Areas of Water Stress
  • Global Data Center Density by Geography
  • Data Centers Utilize Water for Cooling
  • Key New Data Center Facilities

Section 2: Market Outlook

  • Forecast Methodology
  • Data Center Facility CAPEX/OPEX Breakdown
  • Year-over-Year Water Usage by Region
  • Water Usage by Data Center Type
  • Global Water Management Spending for Data Centers
  • Global Water Spend for Data Centers by Input Category
  • U.S. Leading Market for Data Centers
  • Pact Drives Water Spend and Usage for Greener Data Centers in Europe
  • A Variety of Metrics Influence Opportunity for Water Providers
  • Water for Data Centers Overview by Country

Section 3: Emerging Opportunities

  • Water Goals Set to Enhance Operational Efficiency
  • Push for ESG Initiatives Increases Efficiency Optimization Projects
  • Case Study: Microsoft – Quincy Industrial Reuse Facility (2021)
  • Case Study: Microsoft – Arizona Municipal Wastewater System (2023)
  • Case Study: Facebook – Los Lunas, New Mexico Data Center (2016)

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