Linda Qian, Intel communication and media relations manager, said the company returns 80 percent of the water it uses back to the communities it works in.
“The rest of it is lost to either evaporation or irrigation,” Qian said. “So a few years ago, we sat down and realized that there was more we could be doing.”
Last fall, she said, Intel announced a new global goal to restore 100 percent of its water use around the world back to the communities surrounding its plants.
“We are doing this by going out into the community and working with non-profits, like the National Forest Foundation and Trout Unlimited locally,” Qian said. “We really want to fund the collaborative community projects that benefit the watershed.”
According to Qian, Intel has already funded environmental projects in California, Oregon and Arizona.
“This is the first one we will be funding in New Mexico, and it should be in full swing in just a couple of months,” Qian said.
The first project to begin in New Mexico is not at an Intel facility, she said, but in northern New Mexico.
“In the winter time, not as much water flows through the Rio Grande and it impacts how fish are able to rear and spawn, and so what we are doing with Trout Unlimited is we are actually paying landowners in the area to release additional water into the watershed during those low-flow times,” Qian said.
Work has already yielded results, she said.
“This year the Rio Grande’s flow was increased by 12 percent, which shows how impactful the work is,” Qian said.
Now that this project is in place with funding, Qian said, Intel would like to continue it for the foreseeable future.