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The Dalles has filed a suit to keep Google’s water use a secret

The city of The Dalles has reportedly filed a suit with a state court on Friday, in order to keep Google’s water use a secret. This comes ahead of an important city council vote regarding a water pack with Google worth $28.5 million. With this, the city is apparently trying to overturn a ruling from Wasco County’s attorney general earlier this month, when it had been found that Google’s water use is actually a public record, followed by The Dalles being directed to divulge information to The Oregonian/OregonLive. The suit was filed against the news organization on Friday, calling for a judge to intervene.

Google to Pay for the Upgrade

The Dalles has filed a suit to keep Google's water use a secret

Image Credits: Nicolas Economou via Getty Images

Google is reportedly contemplating two new server farms on the site where an aluminum smelter used to exist in The Dalles. It already has a sprawling campus full of data centers. At the same time, it says that it needs even more water to cool its data center, without elaborating on just how much more. What is known, though, is that The Dalles can’t meet Google’s requirements without expanding its water network. This is where the new deal comes in, with the city demanding that Google pay for the upgrade.

Nevertheless, the same pact has been attracting quite a bit of scrutiny in The Dalles, with residents and farmers alike being concerned about the long-term water supply in the city amid the current drought. They have expressed worries over how they remain in the dark about the actual amount of water that the tech giant uses.

But the city apparently plans to keep the matter under wraps, and has now approached the court, where it is arguing that Google’s water use is “trade secret,” which is exempt from being disclosed under Oregon law.

No Information Till Vote Taken

At the same time, the litigation won’t reach a resolution until the city council takes a vote on the company’s water deal, which is all set to take place on November 8. This means that until then, the city’s residents won’t have access to the information, though it might be made available to the city council.

The Dalles and Wasco County both have also recently signed off a new package for Google, which is complete with property tax breaks. Under the terms of the new pact, some of Google’s water rights are to be transferred to the city, and the large aquifer under the city are to be replenished with treated water during with the wet-weather season.

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