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.
Each BEF WRC® represents 1,000 gallons of water restored in a stream or river on your behalf and directly contributes to restoring the recreational and ecological vitality of critical freshwater ecosystems. And you know exactly what you are getting!
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® flow restoration projects and ensures their optimum environmental benefit.
Physical access to water is limited. When the demand outstrips the lands 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 because:
- 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- Water demand is often insufficiently restrained because of inadequate price mechanisms and outdated legal rules that set few limits on excessive use.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 demand for water.
- Some technologies waste more water than alternative new technologies, but they are expensive to replace.
- High-demand users sometimes are geographically concentrated in regions that cannot sustain demand levels.4
1. BEF WRCs® make water allocation laws work more efficiently.
In the western USA, the general principle is that water rights are not connected to land ownership. Water rights can 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. 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. WRCs 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 critically dewatered rivers and streams become healthy and flowing again.
2. BEF WRCs® make water-efficient technologies more affordable.
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.
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 all projects WRCs support »
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