The current situation in the world is unprecedented. Nearly every person on the planet is impacted in some way by the coronavirus and we are working together to combat it – individuals, businesses, governments and nonprofits. As someone who focuses every day in my role at Intel working on collective challenges like climate change and water scarcity, it is a dramatic example of the power of coming together to solve problems — whether acting at the community level or collaborating in global policy.
At Intel, we have long believed that climate change is a serious environmental, economic and social challenge that warrants an equally serious response by governments and the private sector. While it may not be experienced with the intense immediacy of a global pandemic, climate change is increasingly impacting all of us. The United Nations reports that one of the ways we’re experiencing climate change is through water, which has led to unpredictable supply, increased floods, prolonged droughts, impaired quality and depleted sources. More than 2 billion people live in places experiencing high water stress, resulting in food insecurity and limited access to clean water and sanitation.
Intel has focused on water conservation within our operations for decades. But in 2017, we took that commitment further, announcing our goal to restore 100% of our global water use. I’m proud to announce today – on Earth Day – that the projects we’ve supported have restored approximately 1 billion gallons of water to our local watersheds in the U.S. over the past two years. That’s enough water to support more than 9,000 U.S. homes for a year.
Our water management practices enable us to return 80% of the water we use back to our communities each year. The remaining 20% of our water use is consumed through evaporation or taken up by plants in irrigation. To advance our goal, we have funded 24 water restoration projects benefiting watersheds in Arizona, California, Oregon and New Mexico in the U.S. And we recently announced our first international project in Bengaluru, India. The projects are implemented with nonprofit partners, such as The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited and National Forest Foundation, and include crop conversion, invasive species removal, irrigation improvements, stream and lake restoration, and much more.
Thirteen projects are actively restoring water. The remaining projects are in progress and will begin restoring water after completion in the next one to two years. These and future projects will restore an equivalent amount of water to what we consume, bringing the 80% up to 100% of our global water use that is returned or restored.
Conserving water within our operations will always be important, though it will never be enough. We call on other companies to join us in funding water restoration initiatives with the community leaders advancing this critical work. Life is about moving forward, always striving to improve – for Intel, that means not settling for what we have already achieved, but daring to dream bigger.
To learn more about the projects we are supporting and progress toward our goal, visit www.intel.com/water.
Todd Brady is the senior director of Global Public Affairs and Sustainability at Intel Corporation.