River Network and Coca-Cola Expand National Rain Barrel Program to Save Water
BOULDER, COLORADO — April 5, 2017 — The rainwater that falls on your roof could play an important role in protecting our nation’s rivers and streams. In celebration of Earth Month (April), River Network, a non-profit organization that supports the protection and restoration of rivers and watersheds throughout the United States, has teamed up with The Coca-Cola Company to expand the National Rain Barrel Program to more than 40 locations across the country.
Now in its ninth year, the National Rain Barrel Program provides an easy way for people to reduce water consumption and pollution from stormwater runoff. The program is part of River Network’s Reduce Your Water Footprint campaign. Local organizations apply to the program to receive free materials and support for hosting public rain barrel building workshops.
“The Reduce Your Water Footprint campaign helps people understand where their water comes from and what they can do to help protect their water sources for the future,” explains River Network’s Director of Community Engagement, Alice Srinivasan. “The environmental hazards caused by failing water infrastructure, pollution, and climate change disproportionately affect low-income communities. These same communities rarely have access to the policy decisions or tools that could improve their environments, their health, and their quality of life. River Network is challenging river and watershed conservation groups to engage more low-income communities through this and other programs.”
In addition to a grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation, Coca-Cola donates its used soft drink syrup ingredient drums to be repurposed into rain barrels. The converted rain barrels collect rainwater that can be used to water plants and lawns, wash cars, and other non-drinking household uses. Since 2008, Coca-Cola has donated more than 84,000 syrup drums to local charities, municipalities, and schools for installing rain barrels in their communities. According to the EPA, a 55-gallon rain barrel can save an average of 1,300 gallons of water per year.
“Rain barrels are a simple and cost-effective way to reduce stormwater pollution, save money on water bills, conserve water for use during droughts, and reduce demand on municipal water supply systems. It’s inspiring that Coca-Cola is donating so many rain barrels on a national scale to help communities with water conservation,” says Zak Lance, Community Engagement Coordinator with River Network.
During Earth Month and into early summer, River Network and Coca-Cola will support more than 40 rain barrel workshops in 24 states including Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. For more information or to find an upcoming rain barrel event near you visit www.rivernetwork.org/get-involved/reduce-your-water-footprint.
“Rain barrels are a tangible and effective way to inspire change to preserve our water resources,” explains Jon Radtke, Water Resources Director for Coca-Cola North America. “Working with our local partners, we can encourage communities to save water drop by drop, barrel by barrel, and replenish a significant amount of water back into nature.”
Water advocates can learn more at the 2017 River Rally conference
River Network and Coca-Cola are also teaming up with Galveston Bay Foundation to host a workshop during the national River Rally conference, May 8-11 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that will train attendees on ways to bring rain barrels and water conservation education programs into their communities. For more information about the 2017 River Rally, visit www.riverrally.org.
About River Network
Founded in 1988, River Network is a national charity that empowers and unites people and communities to protect and restore rivers and other waters that sustain all life. We envision a future of clean and ample water for people and nature, where local caretakers are well-equipped, effective and courageous champions for our rivers.
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