Intel says it will “restore” 100% of its global water use by 2025; the strategy begins with funding for two projects in Arizona and Utah aimed at restoring water to support water security for the Colorado River Basin. In order to restore water used in the company’s manufacturing processes, Intel will scale up its agriculture-centered water-scarcity projects, according to Industrial WaterWorld.
The first two projects include:
- A project between the Arizona Land and Water Trust and the Arizona Game and Fish Department to support the Lower San Pedro River ecosystem. The project supports conversion to low water-use native grasses and shrubs, thereby reducing groundwater pumping and improving habitat conditions in the nearby San Pedro River.
- Partnering with Trout Unlimited, Ranch Advisory Partners and landowners on The Mountain Island Ranch Project, located on the Colorado River in Utah, Intel is backing the installation of advanced, efficient irrigation systems and the transition to lower water use crops that help reduce water demand from the Colorado River.
Intel says it currently returns about 80% of the water it uses to local communities and watersheds, and that it is the first technology company to commit to a corporate-wide water goal to restore 100% of its water use to the environment.
In 2016, Intel says it conserved 4.6 billion gallons of water.
Water’s primary use in semiconductor manufacturing is to rinse the surface of the wafer between hundreds of manufacturing steps. “We do that with ultra-pure water that’s been filtered on an industrial scale. As you make the chips more complex, you have more water usage. It gets harder every year,” Intel’s sustainability director Todd Brady told Environmental Leader recently.
Brady says the company’s specific goal for water is to reduce the use per unit below 2010 levels.