AWS to become a water-positive entity by 2030
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has promised that it will return more water to communities than it uses in its direct operations by 2030.
The cloud giant unveiled a four-step approach to deliver on this mission, focusing on improving water efficiency, increasing its use of sustainable water sources, returning water for community reuse, and supporting water replenishment projects.
The company adopted the Water Usage Effectiveness (WUE) metric in 2021 to measure how much water is consumed in its facilities, and claims to have a global WUE figure of 0.25 litres of water per kilowatt-hour.
“As part of this new commitment [AWS] will report annually on its WUE metric, new water reuse and recycling efforts, new activities to reduce water consumption in its facilities, and advancements in new and existing replenishment projects,” the company said in a statement.
To this point, AWS said it is “constantly innovating” throughout its infrastructure to minimise water consumption and leveraging internet of things technology (IOT) to analyse the amount of water it uses in real-time.
In its server farms in Ireland and Sweden, the company operates water-free to cool its data centres for 95% of the year. It also invests in on-site water-treatment systems that reuse water multiple times to reduce water consumed for cooling.
The company became the first data centre operator to secure approval to use recycled water in its direct evaporative cooling systems in Northern Vigirinia. AWS said it uses sustainable water sources, such as recycled water and rainwater harvesting, wherever possible.
“AWS already uses recycled water for cooling in 20 data centers around the world and has plans to expand recycled water use in more facilities as it works toward becoming water positive,” the statement continued.
To date, AWS has delivered on its water replenishment missions in Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa, providing 1.6 billion litres of freshwater each year to people in those communities.
The announcement has seen AWS outline the work it is doing in the UK, partnering with The River Trust and Action for the River Kennet to create two wetlands on a tributary of the River Thames. The wetlands will recharge over 587 million liters of groundwater annually, treating polluted runoff from farms and roads.
A separate four-part plan has been served to the UK tech sector by startup Tech Nation that aims to cut emissions by over 80 million tonnes.
Amazon’s new initiative adds to its commitment of $10 million to Water.org to support the launch of the Water and Climate Fund, which will deliver climate-resilient water and sanitation solutions to 100 million people across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
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