MALAGA — Microsoft plans to build six data center buildings on 102.5 acres along the Malaga-Alcoa Highway. The project could need 780,000 more gallons of water per day than Malaga Water District's 360,000 gallons of water per day in the summer, by the time the first building is complete in 2025.
Engineering firm RH2 since January has designed several options to bring more water to the Malaga Water District, including one with a $39.5 million price tag, according to a memo from the firm. The option includes new water mains, a new well, reservoirs and pump station.
Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority commissioners on Tuesday heard design updates. Microsoft would pay for the upgrades under deals now being considered by the port board.
Microsoft and the port signed a purchase and sale agreement and the inspection period on the deal ends Wednesday.
It's a two-phase deal where Microsoft would pay about $6.6 million for 72.5 acres at 5375 Malaga Alcoa Highway. The second phase is an adjacent 30 acres for $2.6 million.
The agreement stated finalization of adequate water supply and storage plans were required at the site before the first phase's closing the deal on June 15, but port CEO Jim Kuntz said Tuesday that Microsoft would close regardless.
“Work is ongoing with the Malaga Water District on a cooperative development agreement that will provide water for our project and other uses," a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in an email.
Microsoft changed its water need criteria between January and May, according to the RH2 memo; however, upgrades could include new water mains on the Malaga-Alcoa Highway, Saturday Avenue, Dixie Lane, West Malaga Road, and Hill Lane to provide more water to the data centers.
The additions could bring an average of 130,000 gallons of water per day per building, with two-hour peak periods of 290 gallons per minute per building.
The 550 Malaga Water District customers use an average of 120,000 gallons of water per day in winter and 360,000 gallons of water per day in summer, according to a district comprehensive water system plan in 2018. Maximum demand was recorded at 450,000 gallons per day and 650 gallons per minute. The district’s three wells supply about 980 gallons per minute combined.
"It is to early to tell how much more growth will be able to be accommodated at this point," Kuntz wrote in an email. "Too early in the design phase. What I can say is that thanks to Microsoft, the Malaga Water District system will be substantially upgraded with enhanced reliability."
Some water testing has already been done, but the first permanent installation could be an 18-inch water main on the Malaga-Alcoa Highway, between Saturday Avenue and the former Lojo Property, at 5375 Malaga-Alcoa Highway. This would be done in 2023 before Microsoft starts building its first building, the memo stated.
A later project could be a new 3.2 million gallon reservoir in 2025 when the first Microsoft building is complete.
One or more production wells in 2026 could be built when Microsoft finishes its second building.
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