The rainwater that falls from your roof after a storm could play an important role in protecting our country's rivers and streams, and Coca-Cola is doing its part to help make that happen. In honor of Earth Month, Coca-Cola has teamed up with the River Networka group of more than 2,000 grassroots organizations with the goal of protecting and restoring rivers and watersheds throughout the United States. This month, the beverage company will donate more than 1,000 syrup drums to communities across the country.

Water, Water Everywhere

The 55-gallon syrup drums will serve as rain barrels, which typically cost around $100 each. These large tubs will collect rainwater that can be used to water plants and lawns, wash cars and for other nondrinking uses around the home.

In addition to conserving water and saving homeowners money, rain barrels also reduce water pollution, since sediment that flows into rivers and streams as a result of stormwater runoff can impact water quality. Rain barrels eliminate some of that runoff.

"The fact that Coca-Cola is donating so many rain barrels on such a broad cross-country scale makes this program truly unparalleled in scope or impact," says Matt Burke, director of Corporate and Community Engagement, River Network. "We're thrilled to partner with Coca-Cola to make a meaningful impact for healthy water resources around the country."

Every person who uses a water barrel makes a significant impact on the environment. In fact, according to American Rivers, a national organization that aims to protect and restore U.S. rivers and streams, 40 percent of water used by the average household is for outdoor use. What’s more, 1 inch of rainfall on a 1,200-square-foot roof yields more than 700 gallons of water.

Committed To Protecting Our Nation’s Water

In 2007, The Coca-Cola Company made a commitment to safely return to nature and to communities an amount of water equivalent to what is used in all its beverages and their production by 2020. This initiative, which is part of Coca-Cola's Live Positively campaign, is an important component of the commitment. So far, more than 80 organizations have benefited from Coca-Cola's rain barrel donation program.

"Rain barrels are a tangible and effective way to inspire change to preserve our water resources," explains John Radtke, water resources director for Coca-Cola Refreshments. "Working with our local partners, we can encourage communities to save water drop by drop, barrel by barrel, and replenish a significant amount of water back into nature."

Since 2008, Coca-Cola has given away more than 22,000 syrup drums, making a noticeable impact across the country. The new donation of barrels will help replenish some 60 million gallons of water (enough to fill 100 Olympic-size swimming pools) each year.

For more information on the Live Positively campaign, which includes tips on making healthy food choices, plus information on Coca-Cola's efforts to support recycling, conserve water, improve water access, protect the global climate, reduce the company's environmental impact and many other programs and initiatives, visit livepositively.com.

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Other resources:

http://www.rivernetwork.org/

http://www.rivernetwork.org/rally/workshops/rain-barrel-workshop

http://www.americanrivers.org/newsroom/press-releases/2008/go-green-this-summer-save.html

http://www.americanrivers.org

http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/dynamic/press_center/2012/03/world-water-day.html

http://livepositively.com/