Eight major corporations have contributed more than $1.5 million to shore up Arizona’s dwindling water supplies in a conservation project with the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) in western Arizona.
Intel Corp., Microsoft, Cox, The Coca-Cola Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Reformation, Silk, and Swire Coca-Cola, USA are providing the funding as part of the project that was developed through the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) negotiations in Arizona.
The funding builds on prior commitments that now bring the total private and philanthropic funding to over $6 million, or 75 percent, of an $8 million goal to help support the DCP.
The money will help increase water supply reliability in the state that has watched the Colorado River shrink under a decades-long drought, said Todd Reeve, director of Business for Water Stewardship (BWS), who announced the transfer of the funding last week.
“It’s remarkable to see the business community come together like this—with some of the world’s most successful companies working to ensure that Arizona’s long-term water security remains a priority, ” Reeve said.
Tribe working to protect environment, economy
As an original user along the river with senior priority rights, CRIT is a large holder of Colorado River supplies. The tribe has been actively involved in the DCP negotiations to find solutions to reduce future water shortages.
With funding from the state and the corporate and nonprofit community, the tribe has agreed to conserve up to 150,000 acre-feet of its Colorado River water allocation, which will directly shore up Lake Mead, Arizona’s holding “tank” for Colorado River water.
Keith Moses, vice chairman of the CRIT, said the tribe looks forward to working with the private and public partners to “maximize the environmental and economic value of our federally reserved water rights.”
The funding also supports longer-term CRIT efforts to modernize irrigation systems and conserve water.
“Our contribution to the DCP was just the beginning of our plan to actively manage our water rights to both provide for our people and to protect and preserve the river,” Moses said. “This is a team effort, and we know we can build upon our successes in the years to come.”
Nonprofits match funds for water shortage prevention
This newest round of corporate funding is being matched by private philanthropic funds from the Water Funder Initiative and the Arizona Community Foundation to total over $1.5 million.
New era of business involvement
The collective funding agreement from corporations and foundations to conserve water is the single largest collaborative effort of its kind in Arizona, Reeve said.
He said this showing of business commitment highlights a new era of water policy, where the business community “not only understands what is at stake, but also chooses to directly drive water solutions that make Arizona a great place to invest, hire, and grow.”
About Business for Water Stewardship
Business for Water Stewardship is a program of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation that helps businesses advance solutions to ensure that local communities, economies and ecosystems have enough clean water to flourish. BSW provides ways for businesses to actively help sustain rivers and replenish aquifers, promote forward-looking water policies, and boost their reputations as environmental stewards.
Learn more at www.businessforwater.org