Semiconductor Industry Cannot Exist Without Water
The technology industry (semiconductors for computers, cell phones, and automobiles) is a key driver of global economic growth, but it’s also one of the world’s largest water users, revealing that when it comes to products – nothing escapes the need for water.
For example, in 2007, technology giants Intel and Texas Instruments used a combined total of 11 billion gallons of water to produce silicon chips for their products. Indeed, to make a single 300-millimeter wafer, a typical semiconductor plant requires approximately 2,000 gallons of water. Water is critical to the technology industry’s ability to operate and produce its products, which means it is critical to the economic bottom line. A water-related shutdown at a production facility could result in as much as $200 million in lost revenue over the course of just three months.
Furthermore, a large number of semiconductor factories are located in arid or semi-arid regions of the world. In fact, 11 of the world’s 14 largest semiconductor factories are located in the water-stressed Asia-Pacific region. These industries have a fundamental need for water, which greatly contributes to increased water demand because of the still significant growth of this sector.
Reversing this trend involves adopting water productivity and protection measures to improve the sustainability of water resources – and there are still opportunities industry wide to enhance water resource management.