Water Water | Urban Living
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Water Water



The NSA Utah Data Center (aka Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center) has received little press since it opened in 2014. The sleepy little burb of Bluffdale at the southwest end of the Salt Lake Valley cut a really generous deal on water rates to woo them here, despite the fact we live in a desert and have been in a drought for years. When it finally opened, we Utahns were already known as one of the states with the highest water usage per capita, so letting the NSA have copious amounts of water per day to cool the spy computers just added to our sad award of bad consumerism. Last year, The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the data center used 6.6 million gallons of the precious liquid during August, paying an average monthly bill of $36,417.

Bluffdale City, all wiggly and happy like a puppy with a new ball, built a $3 million water-delivery system for the center to secure its plans to build in their fair city. And now, Facebook is throwing carrots out to politicos to see if we'll take the bait once again, and give up even more water to have the social media giant move in next door. Bizjournals.com reports that Facebook's data center campus in North Carolina used 33 million gallons of water in 2015, while the Pineville, Ore., campus went through 18 million gallons.

As an aside, isn't it interesting that Facebook wants to open a data-collection center right next to the NSA's in our fine valley? Is anyone else a bit skeptical that our perky, free social media service, with all our personal data, wants to be located next door to the biggest spy center in the U.S.? That our daily photos, clicks, rants, raves and check-ins are so easily accessible to a federal government agency's spies and data specialists? Meh, look at me being all conspiratorial.

The Facebook deal isn't set in stone yet, but the money it would bring is enticing (to say the least), as is the ability to say, "Hey, we've got Facebook here!" For sure, jobs would be created, and employees would need to eat and shop and sleep somewhere, so business would flourish. And if it's not FB, then someone else likely will want to nuzzle up to the NSA. Sadly, the new folks might not be able to take baths or water their lawns for long because, with two behemoths cooling bazillions of computer chips, we'll run out of H2O faster than we can scream, "SAVE OUR WATER!"