Watershed Protection: The Cyan Movement

Posted: October 10, 2016
Watershed Protection: The Cyan Movement

In order to bring awareness, to drive social change and start conversations about water conservation, we launched the CYAN movement in 2010 with three pillars: bring awareness of the theme, preservation and recuperation, and education and engagement. 

The watershed protection comes with the aim to recover and preserve important river basins in the country. Our mission is to assist in the recovery and preservation of important river basins of the country. Through a comprehensive diagnosis of each basin, we gathered a serial partners and we draw a site plan with actions that include environmental education, ecological restoration, conservation practices and PSA (Payment for Environmental Services).

We started in the watershed stream Crispim, in Brasilia, and with the WWF Brazil had important achievements.  The Project also arrived in Sete Lagoas (MG) with WWF Brazil

We have also partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to establish a watershed restoration program in the drought-stricken Jaguariúna region, which supplies water to the greater São Paulo area as well as our local facility. Large-scale deforestation in the area has negatively affected the watershed. Without the critical plant root systems to hold topsoil in place, hundreds of thousands of tons of sediment are released into the Jaguari River every year. This reduces the water volume of the river, which is near capacity, strains local water supplies and limits economic growth.

The project scaled with a green infrastructure project with TNC, called Project Bacias Jaguariuna and was launched in 2013. The project aims to better manage important Brazilian water basins and improve the quality and quantity of water available. We are collaborating with local stakeholders like the Jaguariúna Bureau of the Environment, the Brazilian National Water Agency and Sao Paulo Road Development Public Limited Company. Together, we have devoted financial and technical resources to conservation projects, reforestation of riverbank vegetation and soil conservation techniques.

For example, in 2015, we started working with five local landowners at farms within the basin that cover one third of the pilot area that we initially mapped. Through the program, we provide farmers and landowners financial incentives, known as Payment for Environmental Services (PES), that encourage environmentally responsible land management and the conservation of natural resources in order to prevent erosion and sediments. We are continuing work to recover the initial 100 hectares (50% of the total in the original pilot area) of degraded areas and local forests and to preserve 120 hectares (40% of the total from the original pilot area) of forests remnants.

In light of a recent drought that impacted the region, this is an ambitious and timely project. Our goals are to raise awareness about the importance of investing in green infrastructure as part of watershed management and to bring together critical partners needed to scale the project into the rest of the Jaguari River basin. In the future, we intend to provide additional technical support, continue our community engagement and call for project proposals from rural landowners.

By collaborating with a variety of partners and considering the full spectrum of stakeholders, we have been able to simultaneously align efforts and leverage available resources to make a larger impact. We are now replicating this model across our company in other water-stressed areas – because only through coordinated collective action can we mitigate long-term risks and protect water supplies for all.

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