Water usage by Google, especially as it relates to two new proposed data centers in The Dalles, is currently being negotiated between Google LLC and the City of The Dalles, and details of that agreement will be made public when negotiations are complete, Mayor Rich Mays said during the public hearing Feb. 22 in The Dalles. That should happen within a couple of months, Mays said, and no information on the negotiations would be available prior to that time.
However, one of the potential benefits of Google expansion in The Dalles noted in the staff presentation reviewing the Strategic Investment Program (SIP) proposal before the city and Wasco County is engagement with the city in water storage and recovery, and questions were asked about how that would work.
Dave Anderson, The Dalles public works director, explained that “aquifer storage and recovery is a method of taking surface water through our water treatment plant in the winter when there is a surplus supply, treating it and putting it down a well into an aquifer for recovery later. Its a way to improve the sustainability of an aquifer, and is an option we are looking at in the future.”
He added that providing a safe and reliable water supply to everyone in the city was the primary objective of his department, and no agreements would be considered that jeopardized that supply.
Design LLC (Google) has paid for and provided the city with all the analysis needed to show this is an option for The Dalles in the future, and has paid for the permitting for the city to move forward with this if it decides to do so in the future.
During the hearing, Carolyn Wood of The Dalles noted the city gets water from the mountain and through wells, and suggested there were wells at the project site that served the aluminum plant. She added that sufficient water was “part of the reason they are here.” She added, however, that she was concerned with the quantity of vapor being discharged by the current facilities.
“That has increased the fog level,” she said, and asked what the impact of that would be to the regional airport in Dallesport. “These new ones are closer, I assume they're larger, and may put out even more vapor.
“I can look out and see that vapor come up, level out, and move up the river. And on foggy days, that contributes to the fog. I hope you keep that in view as you look at this,” she said. “But I support it completely,” she said of the project.
Mays noted that part of the permitting process will involve a review by the Federal Aviation Administration to look at possible impacts to the airport.