For all you environmentally savvy ale lovers, it’s time to get out that “green” list and add, "use less water." Even though we live in a remarkably wet part of the country, conservation is a growing concern around these parts. But don’t feel too guilty about your inability to use less beer, because Oregon’s brewing companies are making up for our lack of initiative by buying Water Restoration Certificates.
Local beer entrepreneurs are becoming more aware of water limitations and are standing up for H2O by buying in to the Water Restoration Certificate program (WRC). Led by Bonneville Environmental Foundations (BEF), the WRC program is a nifty way for businesses to conserve their water consumption and pay it forward by (according to their website) "purchasing water credits to take responsibility for their water consumption by returning an amount of water equal to what they’ve used back to the environment." Current water laws give landowners the right to annually withdraw an amount of water from rivers and streams for "beneficial economic use." Unfortunately, sometimes the demands from specified waterways exceed the amount available.
It only costs $1 to restore 1,000 gallons of water, which is equivalent to about a 1/4 of the price of your frosty pint of hefeweizen. That’s enough water to restore some flow to the Deschutes River, as parts of it have been known to run dry during summer months. Hopworks Urban Brewery and Widmer Brothers Brewing have purchased a total of $9,800 worth of water credits and have restored 9.8 million gallons of water across the Northwest over the last year.
Remember, your beer is mostly water—no water, no beer. So let’s save the world, one pint at a time!