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Microsoft to replenish more water than it consumes by 2030

  • Microsoft to replenish more water than it consumes by 2030
    Building 92 at Microsoft Corporation, Washington. Credit: De Coolcaesar. Wikipedia
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The American multinational technology company Microsoft commits to be water positive for their direct operations by 2030.

In a press release, the company explained it would be tackling water consumption in two ways: “By reducing our water use intensity – or the water we use per megawatt of energy used for our operations – and replenishing water in the water- stressed regions we operate. This means that by 2030 Microsoft will replenish more water than it consumes on a global basis.”

This means that by 2030 Microsoft will replenish more water than it consumes on a global basis

Getting ahead of the world’s water crisis will require a reduction in the amount of water humans use to operate economies and societies, as well as a concerted effort to ensure there is sufficient water in the places it is needed most.

“This will require a transformation in the way we manage our water systems and a concerted effort for all organizations to account for and balance their water use. As a global technology company Microsoft is prepared to act on both accounts, taking responsibility for our own water use and partnering on technology platforms to help others do the same.

“Over the past year we have committed Microsoft to become a carbon negative, zero waste company that is building a new planetary computing platform to transform the way we monitor, model, and ultimately manage Earth’s natural systems.

“Our pledge today to become water positive by 2030 adds a fourth pillar to this work. And as in our other areas, we’re committed not only to setting ambitious goals for ourselves but using technology to better help our customers to do the same.”

Water positive by 2030

Microsoft’s replenishment’s strategy will include investments in projects such as wetland restoration and the removal of impervious surfaces like asphalt, which will help replenish water back into the basins that need it most.

The firm will focus its replenishment efforts on roughly 40 highly stressed basins where it currently has operations.

Moreover, according to Microsoft, this work will build on ongoing investments, and advances on water reduction and replenishment across operations.

“This includes a sustainability design standard across Microsoft that requires water conservation at all locations globally. These include:

  • Our new Silicon Valley campus, opening later this year in California, features an on-site rainwater collection system and waste treatment plant to ensure 100% of the site’s non-potable water comes from onsite recycled sources. An integrated water management system will manage and reuse rainwater and wastewater. By recycling our water, the campus will save an estimated 4.3 million gallons of potable water each year.
  • Nearly halfway around the world, our new Herzliya, Israel campus features water-efficient plumbing fixtures that drive up water conservation by 35%. In addition, 100% of water collected from air conditioners will be used to water plants on-site.
  • In India, our newest building on our Hyderabad campus will support 100% treatment and reuse of wastewater on-site for landscaping, flushing, and cooling tower makeup.
  • At our headquarters redevelopment in Puget Sound, all new office buildings will reuse harvested rainwater in flush fixtures and low-flow systems, which is projected to save more than 5.8 million gallons annually.
  • At our new datacenter region in Arizona, available for use in 2021, we are innovating ways to reduce our water use intensity and replenish water in this highly stressed region. We will use zero water for cooling for more than half the year, leveraging a method called adiabatic cooling, which uses outside air instead of water for cooling when temperatures are below 85 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures are above 85 degrees, an evaporative cooling system is used, acting like a “swamp cooler” that you find in residential homes. This system is highly efficient, using less electricity and up to 90% less water than other water-based cooling systems, such as cooling towers. We are also partnering with First Solar to provide solar energy rather than traditional electricity generation, which is expected to save more than 350 million liters of water annually.

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