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Renewing Freshwater in Mesoamerican Reef

Agua Dulce: Renewing Freshwater Resources and Strengthening Livelihoods Around the Mesoamerican Reef

Luis Hernández knows his crops. “Allá es yuca.” That’s cassava. “Allí hay un plátano.” Right there is a banana plant.

Walking down the neat rows of a highland farm in the Sierra del Merendón, a rural belt of mountains in northern Honduras, Hernández pauses to name each crop we pass. It’s mid-morning in mid-October—late in the rainy season—and around us the clouds that blanketed the mountainsides at dawn are lifting away unevenly, trailing tattered hems over the patchworks of forest and farmland on each slope.

 

Now, the partnership has been renewed through 2020, and one of the priorities of this new phase—in the Mesoamerican Reef and the partnership’s other watershed regions worldwide—is securing a bigger, broader array of partners to help strengthen and accelerate the momentum around watershed conservation.

Such conservation is an obvious priority for a beverage company like Coca-Cola. “Our entire value chain…is dependent on water,” says Greg Koch, Coca-Cola’s director of global water stewardship. “From the product to the manufacturing, the ingredients, you name it. We invest and partner on…watershed issues because they’re vital for the health and growth of our business and the communities we are a part of.”

But the message the partnership has been working to communicate, and aims to communicate still more broadly over the next seven years, is that water conservation should be everyone’s priority—because water is everyone’s business. Here in northern Honduras—where the cloud-draped mountains taper to foothills, and the foothills flatten into sugarcane and banana fields, and the fields give way to noisy cities and ports that open, through rivers like the Chamelecón, out into the Caribbean—that realization is clearly on the rise.