How Much Water is Consumed for a Google Search?

It is not their fault. They only give you less than a half a second to think about what just happened.

Maybe if you could hear the digital chirps, like when you mistakenly dial a fax line, this would remind you what is going on behind the scenes after you clicked that Google search button.

First you would hear a short chirp of the web server sending your search to an index server and then another server would chime in saying it is retrieving the snippets of stored documents for each search. Google has previously reported that .0003 kwH is used for each search.

So, how much water is used per search?

I calculated this for a presentation I did a few months ago to illustrate the water energy nexus. Assuming a typical thermoelectric plant provides the energy (400 gallons/mwH evaporated or consumed), a Google search would evaporate or consume 1/10 of a teaspoon of water.  This does not sound like a lot until you think how many Google searches there are per day.

Hint. There are over 293 million google searches a day.  I’ll leave this math with someone else.

3 Comments

  1. Thanks for your wonderful information.

  2. 365 days/year * 29.3 million US teaspoons per day = 42.73 acre-feet/year Columbia River (a large hydropower producer where google has some powerplants) annually pours an average of 180-190 million acre-feet per year into the ocean (http://www.nwcouncil.org/history/floods.asp) So 1 year of google searches = about 7 seconds of columbia river flow or 0.0002% of the annual flow.

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