Intel Operations in US, Costa Rica, India Achieve Net-Positive Water

Published on: 16 July 2022
by KnowESG
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Intel has long sought to lower its water impact, and with internal water management facilities, restoration projects, and other endeavours the company says its operations in three countries are now net-positive with water use.

The company says water is one of the most important parts of its operations, and in 2021 it used 16 billion gallons of freshwater, reclaimed water, and desalinated water. Intel says internal water management practices have resulted in more than 13 billion gallons of that water going back into surrounding communities.

As a result, Intel’s operations in the United States, Costa Rica, and India are now net-positive water use, the company says. Its water practices are also being built into its new facilities, and Intel strives to be net-positive throughout its entire operations by 2030.

In all three countries, the company says it has returned or restored more water than it has used, including restoring what it says is nearly 400% of the water it used in India.

According to the US Census Bureau, nearly a quarter of the world’s freshwater withdrawals are from manufacturing. Large semiconductor fabrication facilities, such as those in use by Intel, can use up to 10 million gallons of water a day, according to Gradiant.

Intel specifically has tackled water concerns with the construction of a sizeable facility in Europe, saying water supply is a key factor in selecting the site’s location. It is using similar sustainability goals with a $20 billion investment in new chip facilities in Ohio.

The company says it tries to balance water in and water out of its operations. Intel has made production more efficient and has on-site water treatment facilities that help maximise water reuse and reduce the need for freshwater resources. Intel is also developing on-site water reclamation facilities. The plants will treat and reuse water within its operations in systems such as cooling towers and scrubbers, the company says.

Additionally, the company partakes in water restoration projects. It gave a project in Arizona as an example where it says it restored 890 million gallons of water to the watershed in 2021. It also aims to restore 100 million gallons of water each year in India through water restoration projects there.

Overall, its conservation efforts saved 9.3 billion gallons of water last year, which it says is an increase of 114% over the past two years. To hit net-positive water throughout its operations by 2030, Intel says it will need to conserve 60 billion gallons of water and restore more freshwater than it uses.

Source: Environmental Leader

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