Based on current consumption, the World Economic Forum predicts that global water demand will exceed supply by 40% by 2030. We are aware that the largest organizations have the greatest impact, despite the fact that everyone has the ability to make a difference.
As a result, our team has spearheaded initiatives over the past two years that have increased AWS’s water return and decreased AWS’s use of water. In point of fact, by the year 2030, AWS has pledged to return to communities more water than it uses for its own operations. AWS also demonstrated its leadership in water efficiency among cloud providers by announcing its global water use efficiency metric of 0.25 liters of water per kilowatt-hour by 2021.
While we still have a long way to go on our water stewardship journey, we have gained a lot of knowledge about how to get closer to our objectives. When it comes to tackling the ever-increasing problem of water scarcity, we’ve found these three strategies to be the most effective:
1. Work with your local community When it comes to water resources, each region of the world has its own challenges and opportunities. To better comprehend how to have the greatest impact, it is essential to collaborate with local governments and businesses.
For instance, we came up with a more eco-friendly method for recycling the water that is used to cool the Oregon AWS data centers. In collaboration with stakeholders in the area, AWS invested in miles of pipeline to bring the water to the existing irrigation canals. This made it possible for 96% of the cooling water from AWS data centers to be used again in communities nearby.
Our work using recycled water to cool 20 data centers in Virginia, California, and Singapore is another example. We were able to maintain high-quality drinking water for the community by utilizing recycled water, which is treated as waste water.
Businesses have the potential to provide farmers and residents with millions of additional gallons of water annually when they collaborate with the communities in which they operate to better manage the flow and availability of water. We are working to extend our success and make additional investments in recycled water systems elsewhere.
2. Make more of an impact by leveraging technology AWS is constantly developing new ways to improve infrastructure efficiency, including water efficiency. We analyze real-time water use and find and fix leaks with a variety of AWS services. We also use this technology to determine when outside air rather than water can be used for cooling. In point of fact, for 95% of the year, our data centers in Sweden and Ireland do not use water to cool them.
Customers are also working with us to find new ways to cut down on water use, especially in industries, which use more than 18.2 billion gallons of water per day in the United States, according to the EPA.
AWS analytics and machine learning services, for instance, are utilized by Mueller Water Products Inc. (Mueller) to enhance leak detection and provide its clients with a more precise view of essential water data. This use case is important because leaks lose an estimated 1.7 trillion gallons of water each year, which is about 30% of all treated water in the United States.
Waterplan, another AWS customer, has built a cutting-edge data platform that uses remote sensing, hydrologic modeling, machine learning, local data, and automated media analysis to provide up-to-date, high-resolution water risk data.
3. We support water replenishment projects in the regions where we operate in addition to conserving and reusing water. By restoring watersheds and providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene services to water-stressed communities, replenishment projects enhance water accessibility, availability, and quality.
Customers are working with AWS to look into new ways to cut down on water use, especially in industries.
For instance, AWS and the global clean water nonprofit Water.org collaborated to provide 250,000 people with access to clean water and sanitation in areas like Maharashtra, Hyderabad, and West Java, Indonesia. Additionally, AWS is collaborating with The Rivers Trust and Action for the River Kennet to construct two wetlands on a Thames tributary, one of the UK’s most significant water catchment areas.
Each year, communities and the environment will receive nearly 2.4 billion liters of water back once all of our ongoing replenishment projects are completed. In the years to come, communities will receive more water thanks to upcoming projects.
We believe that collaboration between the private, public, and non-profit sectors can stoke the innovation required to address the numerous challenges posed by climate change to water resources. Working together and utilizing cutting-edge cloud technology can have an impact, as we and our clients have witnessed. We are pleased with our progress, but we are aware that there is still work to be done. As we grow and develop, we anticipate sharing more.
To learn more about AWS’s water stewardship, please click here.