Intel operations in the United States, Costa Rica and India are officially positive on water consumption. In these countries, Intel restores and returns more fresh water than it absorbs.
According to the company, this is Intel’s long-standing commitment to conserving water and minimizing its impact on the planet. ToddBrady, Intel’s Chief Sustainability Officer and Vice President of Global Public Affairs, said, “Over 10 years ago, we began exploring how to better understand and reduce our water footprint. Five years ago, we set a public goal to restore 100% of our water consumption and became the first technology company to set a company-wide water restoration goal. Two years ago, we announced our goal to achieve net positive water by 2030, driven by our commitment to reduce our overall impact on our local watersheds and support the water resources that serve our communities.
“It’s exciting to share that we’ve achieved net positive water in three countries, thanks to strong partnerships with environmental nonprofits and local governments, and through our investments in water stewardship. We’re not stopping there – now we’re focused on getting net positive water in the other places we operate. »
Last year, according to Intel, it used 16 billion gallons of fresh water, reclaimed water and desalinated water. Internal water management practices have resulted in the flow of more than 13 billion gallons of water from Intel to surrounding communities. Many things are needed to run Intel’s factories, but water is arguably one of the most important ingredients. It is used in the manufacturing process, including in manufacturing tools that produce advanced technology, in data centers and in evaporative cooling towers.
Intel uses fresh water as well as reclaimed water purchased from utilities, but it also draws from other sources. In Israel, desalination removes salt from seawater to make it usable. Other Intel facilities may draw water from onsite wells and collect rainwater to supplement supply from the city. Intel’s CSR report includes a balance sheet showing where each site’s water comes from and where it goes next.
Balancing the equation between water in and water out means working hard to conserve and reuse water whenever possible. Some of the water Intel purchases is wasted for irrigation and evaporation, but water-saving efforts are taking place inside Intel to ensure it is as efficient as possible. water as possible.
Making the Most of Intel’s Assets: From Arizona to Bangalore
Internal conservation efforts saved Intel 9.3 billion gallons of water last year, a 114% increase over the past two years. Manufacturing process improvements and efficiencies mean Intel can do more with less, and on-site treatment plants allow the company to maximize its water reuse and reduce the use of water resources gentle.
In 2021, Intel says it has made significant progress in operating its onsite water reclamation facilities. These innovative plants allow Intel to treat and reuse water in system operations such as cooling towers and scrubbers, resulting in a substantial increase in water conservation that reduces the use of water sources. ‘pure water.
Intel’s restoration efforts close the gap and ensure that the company’s impact on the planet goes beyond simply “cancelling” water use in factories. The company says it focuses its water restoration efforts in the watersheds impacted by its sites. For Arizona, Intel-funded water projects restored 890 million gallons to the watershed in 2021. Projects range from traditional conservation to a focus on displacing local economies in ways that will have a long-term impact.
In Arizona, the Verde River is home to migratory birds, nesting bald eagles, river otters, and fish. The river is also a major water source for Phoenix and is essential to the region’s agricultural economy. During the hot summer months, drawdowns from the Verde River increase to keep crops hydrated and healthy.
An Intel-funded project is meant to incentivize farmers to switch from crops that require intensive irrigation during the summer months to barley, which is harvested earlier in the year and requires less water. As part of the project, an investment in a local malt house has reduced the transaction costs of malting barley, which can then be sold to local breweries that previously had to rely on out-of-state suppliers.
In Bengaluru, India, once known as the ‘City of Lakes’, massive urban development has contributed to extreme water stress and groundwater depletion. To support Bengaluru’s water resources, Intel has funded two water restoration projects which, when fully implemented, aim to restore more than 100 million gallons each year between Lake Dyavasandra and Lake Nanjapura.
Fawn Bergen, corporate sustainability manager, points to the ripple effects of Intel’s conservation work as additional positives, though not measurable. “Intel was one of the first technology companies to publicly commit to water restoration, but we are not alone in this,” she says. “In the years since announcing our commitment to water, we have had conversations with other companies who have come to us for help or advice in setting their own water management goals. water. While water challenges are local, partnerships, collective actions and investments are global.
It’s time to incorporate Water Wisdom
As of 2021, Intel has announced plans to ramp up production with new facilities in Arizona, Ohio, and Europe. Work towards net positive water will build on what the company has learned over the past 20 years to minimize the impact of new facilities on the surrounding environment.
“I grew up in the Pacific Northwest – an area known for its heavy rainfall. People often think that means there’s little or no risk to the water,” says Bergen. “But the Water stress, which depends on both supply and demand, exists at different levels around the world – in dry or humid climates, which is why it is important to consider your water footprint – and to seek solutions – in the context of the watershed.
Although new sites increase its water footprint, Intel says its goal of achieving net positive water globally by 2030 remains. It will need to conserve 60 billion gallons of water and restore more than 100% of its global freshwater consumption. How close is the company to reaching that 100% now? “In 2021, Intel is 99%,” according to a company statement.