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AWS Makes Water Positive Commitment to Return More Water to Communities Than It Uses by 2030

Global Association for ESG

19 Dec 2022

World’s leading cloud provider announces new replenishment projects in India, the United Kingdom, and the United States to bring much needed clean water to communities around the world

World’s leading cloud provider announces new replenishment projects in India, the United Kingdom, and the United States to bring much needed clean water to communities around the world


By 2030, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc., plans to return more water to communities than it consumes for its own direct operations. Additionally, the business revealed its 0.25 litres of water per kilowatt-hour worldwide water usage efficiency (WUE) statistic for 2021, proving AWS's dominance among cloud providers in terms of water efficiency. AWS will report annually on its WUE metric, new water reuse and recycling initiatives, new activities to minimize water consumption in its facilities, advancements in new and existing replenishment projects, and more as part of this new commitment. AWS is already well on the route to becoming water+.

The CEO of AWS, Adam Selipsky, stated that "water scarcity is a huge issue around the world and with today's water positive announcement we are promising to do our share to help solve this quickly rising concern." "In just a few years, it is expected that half of the world's population will reside in water-stressed regions; therefore, in order to guarantee that everyone has access to water, we must all develop novel strategies to save and reuse this priceless resource. Even while we are pleased with the progress we have made, we are aware that more needs to be done. In our cloud operations, we are dedicated to setting the bar for water stewardship and to giving back more water to the areas in which we operate. We are aware that doing this is best for the environment and our clients.
In order to become water+ by 2030, AWS has been pursuing four main strategies: increasing water efficiency, using sustainable water sources, reusing water in the community, and supporting water replenishment programmes.

Water efficiency: AWS continuously innovates its infrastructure to use less water. It uses cutting-edge cloud services, like Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, to assess real-time water use and find and correct leaks, enabling it to achieve industry-leading water efficiency. By depending on outdoor air for the majority of the year in many of its buildings, AWS increases operational efficiency even more. For instance, 95% of the year, AWS uses no water to cool its data centres in Sweden and Ireland. AWS also makes investments in on-site water-treatment facilities, which enable it to reuse water several times and reduce the amount of water used for cooling.

Sustainable sources: AWS employs recycled water and rainwater collection whenever possible. Recycled water saves precious drinking water for communities despite being only appropriate for a small number of uses, such as irrigation and industrial use. AWS collaborated with Loudoun Water in Northern Virginia to become the first data center operator authorized to use recycled water in direct evaporative cooling systems. In 20 data centers across the world, AWS already employs recycled water for cooling, and as it strives to become water+, it aims to use more facilities.

Community water reuse: After maximizing the use of water in its data centers, AWS is discovering more ways to give back water to communities. The used liquid is still safe for a variety of other uses. In Oregon, AWS gives local farmers free access to up to 96% of the cooling water from its data centers, which they can use to irrigate crops like corn, soybeans, and wheat.

Water replenishment: In order to fulfil its water+ pledge, AWS is funding programmes to refill water supplies in the areas where it conducts business. By restoring watersheds and providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene services to communities with limited access to water, replenishment programmes increase water access, availability, and quality. AWS has finished replenishment projects in Brazil, India, Indonesia, and South Africa, giving residents of those places 1.6 billion litres of freshwater annually. For instance, AWS is collaborating with the international clean water NGO Water.org to offer 250,000 people with access to healthy water and sanitation in places like Maharashtra and Hyderabad, India, and West Java, Indonesia. Building on its current portfolio of water replenishment programme, AWS today unveiled a number of new initiatives that, once finished, will supply communities with more than 823 million liters of water annually. These initiatives include:

India: After the projects in Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh were initiated in March 2022, AWS continued to support WaterAid in completing them. Since then, five new groundwater recharge projects and piped water systems have already been finished by WaterAid, providing an estimated 47 million litres of water annually to 500 families, or over 2,100 people. In these communities, WaterAid also ran water conservation education campaigns to inform locals about useful ways to conserve clean water, utilise rainwater harvesting, and perform water audits.

UK: To establish two wetlands on a tributary of the River Thames, one of the most significant water catchment areas in the UK, AWS is collaborating with The Rivers Trust and Action for the River Kennet. The wetlands will address growing water scarcity and enhance water quality in the Thames River basin by absorbing and purifying contaminated runoff from fields and roads, recharging approximately 587 million liters of groundwater annually.

US (California): Starting this winter, AWS, the conservation non-profit Freshwater Trust, and the Omochumne-Hartnell Water District will use winter water from the Cosumnes River to recharge 189 million litres of groundwater annually. As a result, water flows will increase throughout the dry summer months as it slowly percolates through the groundwater table and returns to the Sacramento and San Joaquin watershed. This reduces river temperature, enhances salmon habitat, and boosts summer flows into the San Francisco Bay Delta, a vital source of water for the local people.

With today's announcement, Amazon has pledged an additional $10 million to Water.org to support the establishment of the Water & Climate Fund, which will provide 100 million people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America with water and sanitation solutions that are climate resilient. By 2025, this gift will directly enable 1 million people to have access to water, supplying 3 billion litres of water annually to those who live in water-scarce locations.
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