The Sonoran desert, where rainfall averages just nine inches per year, may seem like an unlikely place for a high tech company with big water demands to settle.
Chandler, Arizona is precisely where Intel Corporation has chosen to develop its second largest manufacturing facility in the United States. Every day, thousands of workers, dressed in white, hermetically-sealed clean suits, churn out zillions of the silicon chips that make our mobile phones, laptops and cars tick. Producing those tiny chips requires copious amounts of water for cleaning: eight million gallons of water per day, in fact, or more than what’s needed to fill 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
So where is all that water coming from in a western desert state? And especially now, as more than 14 years of persistent drought and growing water use are draining the reservoirs fed by the Colorado River, the lifeblood for about 40 million residents, businesses and agriculture in Arizona, California and Nevada.
Recycled water. Lots of it. Nearly all the water that Intel uses at its Ocotillo Campus is reused or reclaimed, either at Intel or through the City of Chandler. And Intel isn’t the only heavy water use corporation to adopt smart reuse technologies.