Reducing water usage in AWS data centers
As part of our focus on building a sustainable business for our customers and the planet, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is committed to reducing the water used for cooling our data centers. Our holistic approach to sustainability minimizes both energy and water consumption in our data center operations and guides the development of our water use strategy for each AWS Region—which starts with evaluating climate patterns, local water management and availability, and opportunities to avoid using drinking water sources.
When evaluating cooling technologies, we assess both water and energy usage to identify the most efficient method and minimize environmental and community impact. We maximize the use of free-air cooling systems that cool servers with outside air without using any water. During peak summer temperatures we utilize direct evaporative cooling, which uses water to cool the air that removes heat from our servers. Our evaporative units are optimized to use minimal water, and this approach also increases energy efficiency.
AWS has demonstrated our commitment to water stewardship by using reclaimed or recycled water instead of potable (drinking) water in multiple regions, and a key component of our water use strategy focuses on working with local utilities to expand the use of reclaimed water. For example, in Northern Virginia, AWS worked with Loudoun Water to become the first data center operator approved to use reclaimed water with direct evaporative cooling technology, and we invested to expand the reclaimed water system to bring this resource to our facilities. We continue to collaborate with local utilities that supply reclaimed water, and we have developed best practices for using reclaimed water in data centers.
In some regions, AWS has installed on-site water treatment systems to remove scale-forming minerals, which enables us to use water for more cycles in our cooling units and continue to reduce our overall water footprint. We are partnering with utilities to connect directly to utility water meters for real-time usage data that can be tracked on a cloud-based dashboard with alarm-issuing mechanisms to manage our water usage. Water is a precious resource, and we’re committed to conserving and reusing water—both in our on-site operations and by working with private and public entities to reuse our cooling water for irrigation and other activities within communities where we operate data centers. Saving water is good for the environment, local communities, and our customers.
Learn more about Amazon's commitment to a sustainable future.