Amazon Web Services has committed to become water positive (water+) by 2030, returning more water to communities than it uses in its direct operations.
The company also announced its 2021 global water use efficiency (WUE) metric of 0.25 liters of water per kilowatt-hour.
The company said it will use sustainable water sources, such as recycled water and rainwater harvesting, wherever possible. In Ireland and Sweden, AWS uses no water to cool its data centers for 95% of the year.
AWS also announced several new projects, which, once completed, will provide more than 823 million liters of water to communities each year, including:
- India: AWS is providing continued support to WaterAid to complete projects in Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh after they were launched in March 2022. Since then, WaterAid has already completed five piped water systems and new groundwater recharge projects, which will supply 500 households–approximately 2,100 people–with an estimated 47 million liters of water per year. WaterAid also conducted education campaigns on water conservation in these communities to educate residents on practical ways they can conserve clean water, use rainwater harvesting, and conduct water audits.
- UK: AWS is working with The Rivers Trust and Action for the River Kennet to create two wetlands on a tributary of the River Thames, one of the most important water catchment areas in the UK. The wetlands will recharge over 587 million liters of groundwater per year and improve water quality by receiving and treating polluted runoff from farms and roadways, addressing growing water scarcity and boosting water quality in the Thames River basin.
- US (California): Beginning this winter, AWS, the conservation non-profit Freshwater Trust, and the Omochumne-Hartnell Water District will recharge 189 million liters of groundwater per year using winter water from the Cosumnes River. This will allow water to gradually flow through the groundwater table and back into the Sacramento and San Joaquin watershed, increasing water flows during drier summer months. This lowers the temperature of the river, improves salmon habitat, and increases summer flows into the San Francisco Bay Delta, a critical water supply source for the communities in the region.
“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. “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. 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.”