Oregon Farming Community Utilizes Water Recycled from AWS Data Centers

By Luke Bellos, Editor, TMCnet  |  March 28, 2022

Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently revealed it is working with a small farming community in Umatilla, Oregon to support agriculture within the region with recycled water from local data centers.

Sustainability is becoming a major point of focus in the world of cloud infrastructure and data storage. Despite the numerous benefits of the cloud, the power and resources needed to fuel it can often cause environmental damage and pollution in areas of operation.

AWS worked closely with the community leaders of Umatilla to design a new approach for utilizing the excess water used to cool data centers in the area. As a result, a pipeline was created to harness water from the data centers for usage among farming communities and residents.

“Besides the land we own, water is one of our greatest assets. Every gallon is important to the community, especially for farmers like me,” commented Vern Fredrickson, a local farmer and vice chairman of the Board of Directors for the West Extension Irrigation District. “We’re glad to see businesses like AWS working with local officials to send water back to the community.”

Because of the risks associated with using unsafe water for agricultural purposes, AWS included water quality sensors and IoT gateways within the pipeline to provide alerts if water quality reaches unsafe levels. This system allows farmers to safely support the growth of important regional crops with millions of gallons of recycled water.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the City of Umatilla and the Port of Morrow to be good water stewards in this community,” says Beau Schilz, Americas AWS Water Team. “We’ve built the infrastructure that allows us to give back millions of gallons of water annually to this community, and now we will build on this success in more places we operate around the world.”