A recent white paper published by Microsoft underscores the significance of water replenishment in mitigating global water scarcity and addressing broader concerns such as greenhouse gas emissions and safeguarding biodiversity.
Microsoft has previously outlined several eco-friendly objectives, which includes being water positive and replenishing more water than it consumes in its global operations by 2030.
This paper shares insights gained from Microsoft’s endeavors to reduce water consumption and tackle water stress in the regions where it conducts business.
According to the report, Microsoft views water replenishment as a means to restore and safeguard the water basins in which it operates.
“The challenges related to water accessibility and water quality are issues that demand collective efforts to solve,” as stated in the report.
“By establishing water replenishment targets, we aim not only to reduce our water usage, but also to contribute to the preservation of the high water stress basins that we all rely on,” the report added.
Eliza Roberts, Microsoft’s water chief, expressed in an interview the company’s desire to “stimulate action and investment in innovative new approaches” that can yield significant impact and scalability.
Roberts emphasized the importance of water replenishment, which encompasses activities such as restoration, purification, and efficient water use practices.
Roberts mentioned that this can involve various initiatives, from assisting farmers in collecting rainwater to executing land conservation projects.
“Replenishment is not solely about measuring volumes for individual projects; it is also about safeguarding the overall health of water basins,” Roberts explained.
“The magnitude of the water challenges we currently face and will face in the future is immense. However, there are numerous readily achievable opportunities. For instance, approximately 30% of water is lost due to leakage,” Roberts emphasized.
Moreover, technology will play a pivotal role in water replenishment. Potential applications include utilizing artificial intelligence and acoustic sensors to detect leaks and promptly repair them.
Roberts revealed that Microsoft has also invested in Kilimo, an irrigation monitoring specialist utilizing artificial intelligence to help farmers enhance efficiency and minimize water consumption.
According to Roberts, technology plays a critical role in monitoring the additional benefits of these projects, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing biodiversity.
“I believe that through increased media coverage of water challenges and climate change, people will develop a better understanding of the importance of investing in solutions that protect freshwater resources,” Roberts opined.
“Ultimately, this will further motivate us to invest in scalable replenishment projects that can have a substantial impact in critical regions worldwide.”
Microsoft’s ongoing collaboration with AI experts FIDO Tech has recently expanded to include a project in Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico.
The project will implement actionable artificial intelligence along 350 km of pipelines, which constitutes approximately 10% of the water network in Querétaro operated by the State Water Commission, one of the primary utilities serving the area.
Querétaro is one of six states in the region experiencing severe drought, along with Aguascalientes, Mexico City, Guanajuato, Jalisco, and Nuevo León.
“We are excited to collaborate with Generagua and utility CEA as we collectively strive to enhance water security by reducing water loss,” remarked Victoria Edwards, co-founder and CEO of FIDO Tech.