Around the world, water is under extreme threat. More than half of the world's wetlands have been lost since 1900, and rivers, lakes and aquifers are drying up or becoming too polluted to support people and biodiversity. Meanwhile, climate change is altering global weather and water patterns, resulting in both record droughts and floods.
By 2025, UNICEF estimates half of the world’s population could be living in areas facing water scarcity. As water — a vital resource for all life on Earth — becomes more threatened, protecting freshwater resources and ecosystems has become a global priority.
The Routes & Roots®: Enterprise Healthy Rivers Project was established in 2017 to help preserve this vital resource for current and future generations. To date, the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation (ERACF) has pledged a total of $60 million to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to help protect and restore freshwater ecosystems, implement new water management approaches, preserve watershed habitat and keep pollution out of rivers in North America, Europe and around the world.
"Access to water is critically important to all of our communities," Enterprise Holdings Foundation President Carolyn Kindle said. "We’re proud to support this initiative and are thrilled about the progress TNC and partners have made over the last five years to protect, preserve and improve freshwater ecosystems, habitats and security."
Last year marked the five-year milestone of a 10-year commitment, during which the Routes and Roots project supported TNC’s work with partners to generate the following estimated impact:
- Secured or improved the health of more river miles than the entire length of the Amazon and Nile Rivers combined
- Conserved more watershed habitat than the Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Death Valley National Parks combined
- Kept enough pollution out of rivers and streams to equal the weight of 19,000 cars
- Took actions to improve water security for more people that the total population of Germany
These achievements required a multifaceted approach, including providing breakthrough tools, developing key partnerships with Indigenous groups, working with governments and financiers to promote low-impact, renewable energy solutions and helping drive millions of dollars in public funding toward projects that will have the most impact on rivers.
“Freshwater systems around the world are crashing at an alarming rate,” The Nature Conservancy Global Freshwater Outcomes Director Nicole Silk said. “Globally, monitored freshwater species have declined by 83% since 1970 and just 37% of the world’s longest rivers remain free-flowing. With support from Enterprise-Rent-A-Car Foundation, TNC is working to reverse this trajectory and restore the planet’s freshwater resources for nature and people—before it’s too late.”
Over the next five years, support from Routes & Roots will be used to drive meaningful progress toward TNC’s bold freshwater goals. By 2030, TNC is committed to conserving 1 million kilometers of river systems (enough river length to stretch across the globe 25 times over) and 30 million hectares of lakes and wetlands.
Click here for more information about Enterprise’s philanthropic initiatives.