Coke, USDA Partner to Restore Watersheds


by | Sep 16, 2013

coca-colaCoca-Cola Americas and the United States Department of Agriculture have announced a public-private partnership that aims to return more than 1 billion liters of water to the National Forest System.

The collaboration between government, business and community organizations includes the National Forest Foundation and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, all of which contributed funding for a number of projects to restore damaged watersheds. The organizations signed an agreement formalizing their partnership to continue through 2018.

Future projects include plans to restore water to a wetland that had once been drained near Chicago and remove invasive weeds in California’s Angeles National Forest to improve water supplies for residents of Los Angeles and forest wildlife. Other projects including restoring a New Mexico stream, which had been redirected by historic mining activity, to its natural flow to improve water quality and groundwater storage, and rehabbing a stream in the Lake Michigan watershed.

Federal dollars spent on these watershed projects have been matched two-to-one by Coca-Cola, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the National Forest Foundation. The USDA, Coca-Cola and the other organizations did not share information about the cost of any of these projects.

The USDA’s forest service began working with Coca-Cola, NFF and NFWF in 2012 to restore national resources and wildfire-damaged watersheds. The partners rehabilitated steam channels impacted by severe wildfires to provide clean water for the greater Denver areas and returned water to its natural flow through a meadow in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, which improved the watershed that supplies the East Bay area.

Coca-Cola has a goal to replenish 100 percent of the water used in its beverages and their production by 2020. As part of that goal, Coca-Cola committed in June to improving water efficiency in its manufacturing operations by 25 percent by 2020 compared with its 2010 baseline.

The company also has partnered with WaterAid to provide safe drinking water to one of the poorest suburbs of Burkina Faso’s capital city, Ouagadougou, in western Africa, and in two rural communities in southern Ethiopia.


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