New water records show NSA Utah Data Center likely behind schedule

Posted: April 28, 2014 at 10:48 pm

New water records finally released to the Salt Lake Tribune appear to confirm that the National Security Agency's new data storage facility in Bluffdale, Utah may not be fully operational.

Reporter compelled Bluffdale to provide data on Utah Data Center's water usage.

The data shows that since July 2013, the facility used 6.2 million gallons of water in a month, the highest single month in over two years of data. For that, the NSA paid $28,596 monthly to the City of Bluffdale, the minimum bill amount.

Under the two entities water contract, that minimum bill jumped to $31,692 as of 2014. However, since July 2013, the monthly water usage fell, rose, and fell again in 2014, reaching a low point of 2.8 million gallons as of February 2014 (the most recent data point).

In October 2013, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Utah Data Center had experienced 10 [electrical] meltdowns in the past 13 months. The paper added that the Utah site continuously draws 65 megawatts of power, which could power a small city of at least 20,000. Bluffdale itself is a small city of 8,000 people, located just south of Salt Lake City. It is also the headquarters of the Apostolic United Brethren, a Mormon fundamentalist group.

The NSA did not respond to Ars repeated requests to find out whether the facility is operational.

The water is believed to be used to cool the massive data center the NSA has been building at the site. In order to accommodate the NSAs water needs, the Tribune reports:

Bluffdale built a $3 million water-delivery system for the center. To ensure it would be able to repay the bond, the city required minimum monthly paymentscalled take or payfrom the NSA. But the contract assumes the NSA will exceed those minimums, at which point Bluffdale begins charging the NSA at a rate that currently amounts to $2.05 per 1,000 gallons.

The version of the contract between the NSA and Bluffdale released by the city redacts the planned amounts of the minimum payments and the Utah Data Centers projected water usage. Its unclear how much more water the NSA could receive with the minimum payment.

When the originalwater records request was denied by the city, the rulingcited legal advice from David Sherman, the associate director for policy and records at the NSA.

Excerpt from:

New water records show NSA Utah Data Center likely behind schedule

Related Post