AWS makes water positive commitment to return more water to communities than it uses by 2030

AWS works with The Rivers Trust and Action for the River Kennet to create two wetlands on a tributary of the River Thames (Image: Kevin Grieve/Unsplash)

Amazon Web Services has announced it aims to be water positive by 2030, returning more water to communities than it uses in its direct operations.

The company has also announced its 2021 global water use efficiency (WUE) metric of 0.25 litres of water per kilowatt-hour. As part of this new commitment, they 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.

“Water scarcity is a major issue around the world, and with today’s water positive announcement, we are committing to do our part to help solve this rapidly growing challenge,” said Adam Selipsky, CEO of AWS.

AWS has been driving four strategies in pursuit of becoming water positive by 2030: improving water efficiency, using sustainable water sources, returning water for community reuse, and supporting water replenishment projects.

For instance, in Ireland and Sweden, AWS reportedly does not use water to cool its data centres for 95% of the year to achieve water efficiency. In northern Virginia, AWS has worked with Loudoun Water to become what they claim was the first data centre operator in the state approved to use recycled water in direct evaporative cooling systems. And to date, AWS has completed replenishment projects in Brazil, India, Indonesia, and South Africa, providing 1.6 billion litres of freshwater each year to people in those communities.

AWS has also announced several new projects, which, once completed, will provide more than 823 million litres of water to communities each year. One of the projects includes providing support to WaterAid in India, a non-profit organisation that seeks to improve access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.

WaterAid has already completed five piped water systems and new groundwater recharge projects since Mar 2022, supplying an estimated 47 million litres of water per year.

AWS is also working with The Rivers Trust and Action for the River Kennet to create two wetlands on a tributary of the River Thames in the UK.

These announcements add to Amazon’s commitment of US$10m to to support the launch of the Water & Climate Fund, which will deliver climate-resilient water and sanitation solutions to 100 million people across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

This donation aims to empower one million people with water access by 2025, providing three billion litres of water each year to people in water scarce areas.

“In just a few years half of the world’s population is projected to live in water-stressed areas, so to ensure all people have access to water, we all need to innovate new ways to help conserve and reuse this precious resource,” said Selipsky.

“While we are proud of the progress we have made, we know there is more we can do. We are committed to leading on water stewardship in our cloud operations, and returning more water than we use in the communities where we operate. We know this is the right thing to do for the environment and our customers.”