U.S. Water Alliance announced the winners of the 2013 U.S. Water Prize, and we were proud to see that Water Council member MillerCoors was one of the three winners. MillerCoors was recognized “for their innovative and comprehensive strategies to protect and conserve water throughout its life cycle.”
“Our 2013 U.S. Water Prize winners are leading the way, from East to West and all points in between, on the value of water and the power of innovating and integrating for one water sustainability. Our champions are showing how to save the rain, clean the stream, and grow with care, up and down the supply chain throughout the water cycle.” —Alliance President, Ben Grumbles
Water Council members have won the U.S. Water Prize all three years it has been awarded. Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District won the prize in 2012 for “pioneering watershed-based permitting.” And in 2011 The Water Council won the prize for raising awareness of water as a tool for community and economic development. Winning the U.S. Water Prize three years in a row highlights Milwaukee’s devotion to finding innovative solutions to the world’s water issues. That’s a legacy MillerCoors takes seriously.
“Beer begins and ends with water.” To determine just how much water is used, MillerCoors conducted a water blueprint of its total business operations and discovered that more than 90 percent of water use occured in its agriculture supply chain. In 2011, MillerCoors began to invest significant energy and resources into agricultural practices, specifically the cultivation of barley and hops. As a result, MillerCoors now leads the way in developing and scaling water-efficient farming practices as part of its comprehensive water strategy.
MillerCoors teamed up with The Nature Conservancy in Idaho’s Silver Creek Valley–where much of its barley is grown–to identify areas for improvement. Together, MillerCoors and The Nature Conservancy launched a precision irrigation project to use less water in barley farming without reducing yields. The partnership also developed a Showcase Barley Farm to help demonstrate water conservation practices as a model for other farmers. The water conservation practices piloted at the Showcase Barley Farm are modernizing best practices on barley farms and have applications across the agriculture industry.