As wildfires occur in the western United States, the immediate risks lie in life and property, but ultimately affect water supply.
This is one of the reasons why large companies are beginning to help fund forest restoration to mitigate water risks.
Watering many communities, including large cities, begins with mountains and national forests. In California, the Forest Department estimates that about 70% of water begins in national forests and flows through national forests.
“When such a large fire breaks out, it causes a lot of erosion, filling dams and reservoirs that store water and helping to create hydropower,” said Eli Ilano, forest manager for Tahoe National Forest. Mr. says. “That’s why it’s so urgent to work in forests and thin and restore them to make them more resistant to climate change and these large-scale catastrophic fires.”
After large wildfires, landslides often continue, filling reservoirs, polluting water and reducing capacity. Cleaning the reservoir is expensive and time consuming. And it’s not just mud.
Trees also help retain mountain water and release it slowly. This eliminates the need for dams and reservoirs to face a sudden influx of water.
Companies are now approaching the idea that forest conservation needs to be funded to protect the water supply that is essential to their business.
Todd Gartner, Director of Cities4Forests and WRI, said: Natural Infrastructure Initiative.
For example, in the technology sector, there are many data centers in water-stressed areas that need water to cool a bank of computers running internally. For other product manufacturers, water is very important to every aspect of the process.
Shannon Quinn, Global Water Stewardship Leader at Procter & Gamble, said:
Last year, Procter & Gamble provided a $ 200,000 grant to restore 400 acres of El Dorado National Forest, the water source for cities in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area.
“Business is responsible for addressing these issues, and I think it’s really important to identify areas where the business may be at risk, especially when it comes to water,” Quinn said. increase.
Two years ago, the non-profit Blue Forest Conservation organization launched its first Forest Resilience Bond for $ 4 million.
“It’s really a public-private partnership that works with investors such as pension schemes and insurance companies, impacts investors such as foundations, and covers the initial costs of doing this coveted forest restoration effort. To reduce the risk of catastrophic forest fires. “
Private capital was used to thin and restore approximately 15,000 acres of Tahoe National Forest. Investors are repaid by local water and hydropower companies.
Currently, in collaboration with the World Resources Institute, Blue Forest is launching a second Forest Resilience Bond aimed at 48,000 acres of forest restoration.
According to Knight, the value of $ 25 million is more than six times the value of the first issue, and investors are so interested that about $ 200 million has already been added to the additional bond pipeline.
Although the rate of return on forest resilience bonds is only about 4%, investors are interested in reducing the risk of costly droughts and disruptions in water supply.
Most of the investors were initially foundations and pension funds, but Gartner states that large corporations are now at the table and are planning to invest in their next offering. He said he couldn’t name them.
“They leveraged how this fits their water goals, community interest goals, and the investment of governments, utilities, and even other companies to do and leverage this work on a large scale. I’m more and more interested in how to do it. The leverage of multiple parties working to make a big impact. “
The El Dorado National Forest has been affected by the Caldor fire, which has burned more than 200,000 acres and threatened California’s resort town of South Lake Tahoe. The state closed all national forests inaccessible to the general public until at least September 17 to reduce the risk of fire and ensure the safety of firefighters.
Companies investing in forest protection to secure water supply
Source link Companies investing in forest protection to secure water supply