What are Water Restoration Certificates® (WRCs)?

 

Through our work to help businesses achieve water stewardship goals and balance their water footprint, BEF provides comprehensive program services and support for a diverse portfolio of projects that provide farmers, ranchers and water users an economic incentive to devise new water management solutions that help support a secure water future and restore water to benefit critically dewatered ecosystems.  Each WRC produced by BEF’s projects represents 1,000 gallons of water restored on a company’s behalf and directly contributes to the recreational and ecological vitality of freshwater ecosystems.

1 WRC = 1,000 gallons of water restored

VERIFICATION—The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a widely-recognized leader in freshwater restoration for the past 20 years, reviews all WRC flow restoration projects to ensure optimum environmental benefit.

REGISTRATION—BEF tracks the amount of water restored by each project on the international Markit Environmental Registry.  Serialized Water Restoration Certificates are used to provide verification of water restored on a company’s behalf and to designate the specific project and location supported by the company.  The certificate also ensures that quantifiable results are not double counted and that only your organization owns the environmental attributes associated with the specific quantity of restored flow made possible by your organization’s support.

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types of WRC projects

 
BEF partners with many organizations to develop and support custom environmental water stewardship projects.  We raise and channel funding from corporate partners and the sales of Water Restoration Certificates® to support a range of projects that enhance or restore flows and water to benefit critically dewatered sections of rivers, streams and wetlands and to replenish depleted groundwater supplies. The project types described below represent the diversity of projects that make up BEF’s WRC portfolio. This information is provided to inform our customers and partners regarding the types of projects used to generate WRCs.

Browse our Water Restoration Certificate project portfolio now >>

 

  • WATER MANAGEMENT AGREEMENTS: In many states, water rights can be permanently or temporarily transferred from one use to another—and in some cases, new management approaches can deliver water at critical times to replenish depleted rivers, streams, and wetlands. Funding to support water transfers and management agreements provides important environmental benefit by restoring flows of water to critical wetland areas or chronically depleted streams to benefit fish and wildlife and enhance water quality and recreational values. Through water management or leasing agreements, water rights holders can designate some of their water to be used for environmental benefit, meaning that water rights are legally dedicated to enhance flows and improve environmental conditions. Under the right circumstances, many states in the West allow restored water to be legally protected against other downstream water use. The BEF Water Restoration program provides funding to local organizations to pay for the costs associated with implementing water leasing, management, and forbearance agreements that secure new water to support environmental and recreation benefits.

 

  • IRRIGATION INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADES: Each year, outdated irrigation systems in the U.S. can leak up to 80% of the water they attempt to transfer to thirsty crops. Addressing this challenge with modernized systems is just one of the innovative solutions that funding from the BEF Water Restoration program supports. Opportunities to conserve water used for agriculture in the U.S. abound, however funding to support infrastructure modernization and water conservation is lacking. BEF’s Water Restoration program supports projects that invest in new irrigation infrastructure that allows irrigators to conserve and divert less water from dewatered rivers, streams and aquifers. By funding irrigation system upgrades, BEF supports projects that leave significant “saved water” in the river to benefit fish, wildlife, recreation, and water quality. While projects of this type do not create “new water” they play a central role in enhancing flows in critically dewatered streams.

 

  • NATURAL HYDROLOGIC RESTORATION: In many locations, human alterations to the landscape have changed the natural hydrology of river and groundwater systems. Due to extensive landscape alterations, natural rainfall and runoff are often no longer able to recharge groundwater tables, leading to depleted river flows and groundwater systems. Furthermore, many stream systems have been dammed or routed away from floodplains and stream channels, compromising natural flow patterns, hindering migration of animals, and/or restricting the natural infiltration and replenishment of groundwater. Artificial impoundments also can lead to water quality and safety concerns that include algal blooms and toxic water conditions. BEF’s Water Restoration Program supports projects that restore physical conditions to facilitate natural flow conditions that recharge groundwater tables, replenish depleted rivers and springs, and restore natural flow conditions needed to support fish and wildlife and recreation.

 

  • INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS: Across the U.S. and the world, advanced information technology systems have demonstrated the ability to support precision application of water, reduce pollutant runoff, and conserve water. Deployment of hi-tech systems to monitor and control water management and application has tremendous potential to reduce our withdrawal of surface and groundwater and alleviate water and food security challenges. By precisely measuring water needs and utilizing automated systems to apply and manage water, many farmers are able to sustain food production using less water. However, hi-tech water management systems are expensive to deploy and maintain, and in many parts of the U.S. use of these systems is rare. BEF’s Water Restoration Program supports projects that deploy hi-tech water sensing and management systems where it is possible to conserve water, reduce pollutants, and/or replenish river flows, groundwater, and habitat.

 

These types of projects can apply to rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands and groundwater aquifers.

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how to minimize your organization’s water footprint

GENERAL

  • Turn off water-using equipment when not in use, including dishwashers, garbage disposals and food troughs.
  • Consider alternatives to discretionary uses of water that are not related to health and safety. For example, use a broom instead of a hose to routinely clean sidewalks or driveways.
  • Check for leaks and encourage leak reporting and repair.
  • Eliminate daytime landscape watering. Water at night and consider weather-based or moisture-sensing controls on irrigation systems.
  • Reduce fleet washing as much as possible or use water reclamation systems. Eliminate car lot washing and housing.
  • Incorporate efficient use of water in kitchens for food preparation, food thawing and clean up procedures.
  • Put up signs in your place of business to encourage water conservation among employees in kitchens, locker rooms and restrooms.
  • Inform your business’ chemical suppliers and service contractors (cooling tower, laundry, janitorial, landscaping) that water efficiency is a priority.
  • Use water-efficient plumbing fixtures, appliances and other equipment.
  • Use water recycling systems for chillers and cooling towers.

 

RETAILERS

  • Install low flow toilet and tap aerators in bathrooms or retrofit existing toilets to be low flush.
  • Install sensor-activated faucets in bathrooms.
  • Improve cooling tower and boiler system efficiencies.
  • Use cooling towers or chilled water loops in lieu of once-through cooling operations of chillers or reduce/reuse.

 

HOSPITALITY / RESORTS AND SPAS

  • Install low flow toilet and tap aerators in bathrooms or retrofit existing toilets to be low flush.
  • Install sensor-activated faucets in bathrooms.
  • Provide drinking water only upon request or provide complimentary reusable water bottles to guests.
  • Thaw food in full sinks instead of running under water.
  • Replace or ensure dishwashers are auto-shutoff, water-efficient models. Most models should recycle rinse water.
  • Turn off continuous flow equipment like drain trays and scrap troughs. Eliminate scrap troughs where possible.
  • Use water conserving ice machines such as air-cooled models or flakers. Check equipment supplier for correct operations and water use.
  • Install low flow sprayers in dishwashers and only wash full loads. Turn dishwashers off when not in use.
  • Replace or ensure washing machines are water-efficient models.
  • Recycle laundry water where possible and allowable per regulations.
  • Reprogram machines to eliminate reuse or suds cycle if possible.
  • Reduce water levels to minimize water per load. Wash full loads only.
  • For water features, install recirculation pumps. Turn off cascade or pump water features during off-hours.

 

FOOD AND BEVERAGE

  • Install low flow toilet and tap aerators in bathrooms or retrofit existing toilets to be low flush.
  • Install sensor-activated faucets in bathrooms.
  • Use sink screens to stop organic material from being washed down drains.
  • Thaw food in full sinks instead of running under water.
  • Install low flow sprayers in dishwashers and only wash full loads.