EdgeCore Digital Infrastructure and SRP to improve Arizona watershed and forest health

EdgeCore Digital Infrastructure, a wholesale data centre developer, owner and operator with a location in Mesa, Ariz., has announced a contribution of $288,419 to support SRP’s Resilient Water and Forest Initiative. This initiative addresses the unhealthy forests and devastating wildfires that threaten the health of SRP’s watershed and, in turn, SRP’s ability to deliver clean, reliable water to the Phoenix metro area.

The contribution from EdgeCore will benefit Phases 1 and 2 of the Dude Fire Restoration Project, which seeks to clear hazardous, highly flammable brush and debris from nearly 5,000 acres north of Payson that were previously devastated by the Dude Fire in 1990. Even 30 years later, the burn scar that remains has resulted in unnaturally dense vegetation that poses a significant fire risk and hinders the ability of the native pine forest to regrow.

“We are grateful to companies like EdgeCore that demonstrate sustainability leadership and partner with SRP to tackle the goal of preventing future devastating wildfires in Arizona’s forests,” said SRP Manager of Water and Forest Sustainability Elvy Barton. “We can’t accomplish this goal alone and partners like EdgeCore will help us reach that goal.”

In addition, EdgeCore intends to contribute an additional $280,560 over the next year to fund Phase 3 of the Dude Fire Restoration Project.

EdgeCore has continually expanded the scope of sustainability efforts on its Mesa data centre campus to encompass not only onsite infrastructure improvements but also critical offsite projects that benefit the Mesa community. EdgeCore’s investment in the SRP Resilient Water and Forest Initiative provides water benefits that are expected to achieve water-neutral status on EdgeCore’s Mesa campus for 17 years, or until 2036.

EdgeCore defines “water-neutral” as the process in which it restores, into geographically relevant watersheds, a volume of water equal to the volume of water withdrawn for data centre operation and site maintenance, in similar time frames as the withdrawal occurs, and in ways that modify the hydrology in a beneficial way and help reduce shared water challenges.

“The EdgeCore team has worked with SRP for over a year on the Resilient Water and Forest Initiative and are proud of the positive impacts we have helped to create for water quality in greater Phoenix,” said Feather Bokker, VP of Programmes and Compliance, EdgeCore. “Our corporate commitments to the communities in which we do business and the planet on which we all live are core tenants of the development and operation of our data centres in Mesa and throughout North America.”

More than 2.5 million homes and businesses in the Phoenix metro area rely upon water supplied by SRP. Most of the water delivered to SRP customers comes from snow and rain that falls on 8.3 million acres of forested watershed in northern Arizona.

SRP is working with Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, Tonto National Forest and other partners on this project. Forest restoration efforts like the Dude Fire Restoration Project aim to strategically remove small diameter trees and dense areas of vegetation to allow remaining trees to thrive and to decrease the severity of wildfire.

Without these efforts, catastrophic fire can cause significant decreases in watershed health and overall water quality. To prevent this outcome, SRP has committed to increasing the pace and scale of forest restoration efforts through partnerships, education and support for the forest products industry to accomplish the goal of thinning 500,000 acres by 2035.

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