Вештачка интелигенција

The Impact of AI Data Centers on Water Scarcity: Exploring a Hidden Challenge

Summary

Nestled within the vibrant city of Lagos, Nigeria, Felix Adebayo has called Balarabe Musa Crescent in Vikton Arland his home for the past 19 years. When he secured a job as a security guard at a company in the area […]

The Impact of AI Data Centers on Water Scarcity: Exploring a Hidden Challenge

Nestled within the vibrant city of Lagos, Nigeria, Felix Adebayo has called Balarabe Musa Crescent in Vikton Arland his home for the past 19 years. When he secured a job as a security guard at a company in the area back in 2004, he also received the added bonus of free accommodation. However, this arrangement brought an unexpected challenge – access to clean drinking water. Despite its affluent status, Vikton Arland, a luxurious neighborhood and the main business hub in Lagos, suffers from a severe scarcity of clean water. Speaking to SciDev.Net outside his building, 52-year-old Adebayo shared how it has impacted his family’s everyday life. “We have to buy water for drinking. We have to buy water for cooking,” Adebayo explained. Experts attribute the scarcity to shallow groundwater and the intruding seawater. Therefore, even residents who rely on wells cannot access water suitable for basic needs such as bathing, let alone drinking. Adebayo clarifies, “You can’t dig a well and get clean water because the water you get underground is the same.”

Located approximately 300 meters away from Adebayo’s residence is the IpNx data center, which belongs to a telecommunications company specializing in last-mile connectivity services. Another data center, MDXI, claims to have the largest neutral data centers (not affiliated with a single service provider) in West Africa. Their headquarters are situated within the FF Millennium buildings on Ligali Ajorinde Street, less than 2km from Adebayo’s street. According to the Data Centers map, an open resource for researching data centers, at least ten data centers are headquartered in Lagos, where water resources are strained. Such data centers often rely on significant amounts of water for power generation and cooling. With the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) that relies on access to vast amounts of data, the demand for data center services is rising. However, while the carbon footprint of these centers may be publicly disclosed, limited publicly available information exists regarding their water usage.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How does the water scarcity affect the residents of Vikton Arland, Lagos, Nigeria?
The scarcity of clean water in the Vikton Arland area significantly impacts the residents. They are forced to purchase water for drinking and cooking since the wells and other water sources in the area are unsuitable for use.

How can data centers contribute to water scarcity in Lagos?
Data centers consume large amounts of water for power generation and cooling. Given the growth of artificial intelligence and the demand for data services, these centers are increasingly burdening the already limited water resources in Lagos.

How does artificial intelligence (AI) impact water consumption in data centers?
AI systems require substantial amounts of data for training and operation. These data are stored in data centers, which require vast space and energy to function. The larger the volume of data and the increasing applications of AI, the higher the energy and water consumption in data centers.