US Water Prize for Outstanding Private Sector Organization: Microsoft
Microsoft is a leader in their field for adopting their Water Positive Program and committing to being water positive by 2030. Microsoft recognizes our world’s existing water shortage and is taking steps to meet this goal in two ways: by reducing water use intensity across their operations, and by replenishing more water in stressed basins than global water consumption across all basins.
Microsoft has made impressive strides toward this goal by using data from the World Resources Institute to focus their replenishment efforts on approximately 40 highly stressed water basins in areas where the company has operations. For example, a new datacenter in Arizona will use zero water for cooling for more than half of the year, applying a method that uses outside air for cooling when temperatures are below 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, Microsoft’s new Silicon Valley campus features an on-site rainwater collection system and waste treatment plant to recycle and reuse rainwater and wastewater, saving an estimated 4.3 million gallons of potable water each year.
Microsoft is also working toward improving water accessibility by committing to provide 1.5 million people with access to safe drinking water and sanitation services. The company has begun work with Water.org and has invested to provide microloans to underserved communities in Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Mexico. These loans are used to install household-level taps and toilets, community water and sanitation solutions, and rainwater harvesting and storage. Microsoft is also a founding member of the Water Resilience Coalition, an initiative of the United Nations Global Compact CEO Water Mandate that seeks to reduce water stress by 2050. Founded by seven companies including Microsoft, the coalition has since grown to 20 industry-leading corporations who have pledged to work collectively on water issues.
The US Water Alliance is pleased to award Microsoft with the US Water Prize for Outstanding Private Sector Organization in recognition for their work advancing sustainable, integrated, and inclusive solutions to water challenges.