U.S. Water News Online
BOISE, Idaho -- In what might constitute a trend in which
giant computer chip
manufacturers are hedging growth plans on the availability of western
groundwater, residents of southeast Boise are concerned that a new pipeline
serving Micron Technology Inc. might lower their well levels. Construction
work is under way on the pipeline that will pump some 10 million gallons a
day from two new wells.
Micron Technology has agreed to provide $7 million to United Water
build and maintain the pipeline "to ensure the supply of water to Southeast
Boise and, of course, that does include Micron," said a company spokesman.
The project has been approved by the city Public Utilities Commission, while
the Idaho Department of Water Resources has the authority to shut down the
pipeline if significant groundwater declines are recorded.
At public hearings conducted by the department, local residents
concerns that the water supply project could have a disastrous effect on
domestic wells. Adding to the worry over well drawdowns is an apparent lack
of data on the volume of groundwater in the southwest Ada County aquifer and
the unknown effects of massive well pumping in the area. Mentioned as a case
in point at the hearings was a groundwater crisis being experienced by
Albuquerque, N.M., where the computer-chip giant Intel is expanding at the
expense of the Rio Grande Aquifer.
At its plant in southeast Boise, Micron Technology uses about 1.6
gallons of water a day to cool and clean silicon wafers that are cut into
computer chips. The company reportedly recycles up to 40 percent of this
supply, and has plans to recycle up to 90 percent within a few years.
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