Why Intel is investing in the Verde River to support Verde Valley farmers… and all Arizonans

Written by Aaron Blawn, Intel Corporation, Corporate Services Manager

Arizona Forward Board Member Aaron Blawn is Corporate Services Site Manager for Intel in Arizona, where he oversees engineering and operations of mechanical, electrical, water, waste systems, and more for the technology manufacturer’s Ocotillo campus.

When I moved to Arizona in the 1990s I learned the Hohokam were the first to receive irrigation water through ditches and canals in Arizona more than a thousand years ago. In fact, the system they engineered was the largest and most sophisticated in the Americas.

Fast forward to today, and many property owners in Arizona’s Verde Valley, still receive their water through earthen ditches, even though estimates show the ditches can lose more than 10% of the water they carry through evaporation and seepage. Water from the 185-mile long Verde River is a major source of drinking water for not only the Verde Valley but also metropolitan Phoenix, where I’ve worked for the last twenty-five years at Intel’s facility in Chandler.

Intel has manufactured its technology in Chandler for forty years. In that time, we’ve made many investments in water conservation projects, including the Ocotillo brine reduction facility, a partnership between Intel and the City of Chandler. But our latest water conservation investment is more than 100 miles north of our newest factory, Fab 42, in Camp Verde.

Intel’s investment with The Nature Conservancy, will enclose a section of the Camp Verde’s Eureka ditch on the Verde River to reduce water loss, lower maintenance costs, and provide for more reliable water delivery to the more than 200 property owners who depend on the ditch to irrigate land and crops

Intel’s support for projects like the Eureka ditch conversion are a part of our efforts to restore 100% of the water we use globally. So far, Intel has invested in a total of 13 projects that will restore close to 800 million gallons of water to support Arizona’s water resources, with partners like the Watershed Management Group, Trout Unlimited, the National Forest Foundation, Arizona Land and Water Trust,and of course, The Nature Conservancy. Over the last two years, the projects Intel has supported in the U.S. have already restored approximately one billion gallons of water to our local watersheds.

As a board member of Arizona Forward, I get to work with other like-minded organizations focused on creating a resilient and sustainable place for all of us to live. It’s important that we work together, because Intel is just one company. Amplifying the important work of our nonprofit partners and engaging with other companies to increase participation in sustainability initiatives is so critical. We are so much stronger together.

Learn more about Intel’s sustainability contribution here:

Intel Reaches 1 Billion Gallons of Water Restored