Soft drink company Coca-Cola to fund Bow River water-saving projects

Four Bow River water conservation projects will get $50,000 in funding from Coca-Cola.

$50,000 will go toward restoring habitat and minimizing erosion

Coca-Cola announced today it is giving $50,000 towards water conservation projects along the Bow River, which supplies drinking water to more than one million people in Calgary. (Pat Fogg/CBC)

Soft drink giant Coca-Cola, in a partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, will help fund four Bow River water conservation projects. 

The project, with $50,000 from Coke, will help replenish millions of litres of water in the Bow River Watershed, which more than one million people in Calgary rely on for drinking water.

The watershed, which is under stress due to drought because of rising temperatures, has seen a dramatic decrease in water quality and quantity. 

The Bow River Basin covers four per cent of Alberta or about 25,000 square kilometres. (Courtesy of Nature Conservancy Canada )

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) announced the initiative today which will restore more than 80 million litres of water in the Bow River Watershed. According to the Alberta government, the average Canadian uses 125,000 litres of water per person per year.

Bob Demulder, regional vice-president for the Alberta Region of NCC says this isn't the first time the NCC has partnered with a corporation for conservation projects. 

"We actually get corporate help fairly often but it's never directed to a goal that connects to a company's or corporate outcome. They're interested in water conservation. So are we,"  he said.  

John O'Leary, of Coca-Cola Canada and Bob Demulder, Nature Conservancy of Canada Alberta region, have partnered for four Bow River conservation projects. (Jennifer Lee/CBC)

Demulder says the land trust is approached by other companies for a variety of reasons, but "this is the first time a corporation has come to us and said 'water conservation is important to us.' "

John Guarino, president Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada said the partnership is "moving us closer to our goal of being water neutral in Canada by 2020."

The four projects will focus on decreasing water runoff and restoring habitat. Work will begin immediately on replenishing vegetation growth to help stabilize banks and prevent soil erosion. Other projects include putting up fencing to help protect large areas of land and a water-retention berm at Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, near Cochrane.