What Are BEF WRCs®?

Restoring vitality to critical freshwater ecosystems.

Calculate, Conserve, and Offset

Top Product

Without water, there is no life.

Water is the basis for life, and it is becoming increasingly scarce. Due to climate change and a steady growth in population, we can expect steeper droughts and more demand for water.1

Where is the water going?
For water to arrive back in the stream after we have used it, it often needs to travel from the land to the atmosphere and back again. It takes time for this journey to be completed.2 When we take water from our streams and aquifers faster than nature can replenish it, the water runs out, the streams run dry, and the local ecosystem suffers until the cycle is restored. Conserving water is crucial because sometimes damage to the environment is irreversible without human intervention. Each gallon of water we save can play a part in maintaining a sustainable water supply and a future with water security.
What is your water footprint?
The average person in the US is responsible for nearly 2,000 gallons of water a day and only a small amount runs through our home. Nearly 95 percent of your water footprint is hidden in the food you eat, energy you use, products you buy, and services you rely on. 3 As much as we want to conserve water, we can’t avoid using it, thus resulting in a water footprint for each and every one of us. Terrapass recognizes the importance water has in our daily lives, our eco-system, and the effects climate change has on freshwater resources. We have partnered with Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) to educate communities about endangered waterways and to offer a viable solution for balancing your water footprint through BEF Water Restoration Certificates® (BEF WRCs ®).


What are BEF WRCs®?

The voluntary, market-based BEF WRC® program provides farmers, ranchers, and other water users with an economic incentive to devise new water management solutions that restore water to critically-dewatered ecosystems.

BEFWRC_InfographicShort-01 med

1 BEF Water Restoration Certificate = 1,000 gallons of water restored
Each BEF WRC® represents 1,000 gallons of water restored on your behalf, which contributes to restoring the recreational and ecological vitality of critical freshwater ecosystems.
Verified By National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
To assure the quality of your BEF WRCs®, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a widely recognized leader in freshwater restoration for the past 12 years, reviews all BEF WRC® projects to ensure optimum environmental benefit.


Why do we need BEF WRCs®?

Physical access to water is limited. When the demand outstrips the land’s ability to provide the needed water, you have water scarcity. There are an increasing number of regions in the world where physical scarcity is a man-made condition. In fact, water is becoming ever scarcer for the following reasons:

  • We are withdrawing freshwater from surface water sources and groundwater aquifers at rates faster than it gets replenished or recharged.
  • Much of the world’s fresh water is degrading. Even if there is enough water, it may not be good enough to meet human needs.
  • Water demand is often insufficiently restrained because of inadequate price mechanisms and outdated legal rules that set few limits on excessive use.
  • An increasing number of people on the planet create rising demands for water.
  • Some technologies waste more water than alternative new technologies, but they are expensive to replace.
  • High-demand users are sometimes geographically concentrated in regions that cannot sustain demand levels.4


How do BEF WRCs® work?

1. BEF WRCs® make water allocation laws work more efficiently.
The Problem: In the western US, water rights can typically be lost over time if non-use of the water source is demonstrated or if the water has not been used for a certain number of years.[1] This “use it or lose it” policy can encourage inefficient water practices because landowners are forced to use all of their allotted water whether they need it or not. Diverted water is leaving many streams completely dry or with so little water that they can’t support fish, wildlife, and recreation.

How BEF WRCs® help: Thankfully, ecological purposes, such as maintaining a natural body of water and the wildlife that depends on it, have been accepted as beneficial uses in some jurisdictions. This means that water rights holders can officially restore water to rivers and streams without giving up their valuable water rights forever. Some WRC projects are designed to facilitate the lease or transfer of water rights to be used for the benefit of the environment. By leaving water in the stream where it is protected and unavailable for any other use, WRCs help dewatered rivers and streams become healthy and flowing again.

2. BEF WRCs® make water-efficient technologies more affordable.
The Problem: Each year, outdated irrigation systems in the U.S. can leak up to 80% of the water they attempt to transfer to thirsty crops.

How BEF WRCs® help: Addressing this challenge with modernized irrigation systems is just one of the innovative solutions that funding from the BEF Water Restoration Certificate® program supports. As a result, irrigators divert less water from rivers, thus restoring water to dewatered sections of vital streams and rivers.

3. BEF WRCs® restore groundwater and water quality by supporting the restoration of wetlands.
Problem: Disrupted water flow to wetlands does away with natural water storage systems, water filtration processes and destroys unique habitats.

How BEF WRCs® help: Water rights are permanently or temporarily acquired, and/or on-site construction activities are implemented to augment groundwater tables or increase the volume of water available to support ecological functions of wetland ecosystems.

Click here to see a detailed overview of WRC projects »


Get Started Now

Balance your water footprint today. Together, terrapass and BEF make it easy for you to get the BEF WRCs® you need to balance your water footprint and support sustainable water use.