In 2009, California American Water (CAW) initiated the Environmental Grant Program, dedicating $10,000 to innovative community based projects that improve, restore or protect watersheds and drinking water supplies in California. Today, the program is going strong with more than 15 applicants for the grant funds available in 2013. Local agencies, schools, municipalities and nonprofit groups within CAW’s service districts that are supporting environmentally sound water projects have been encouraged to apply.

“We take our role as environmental stewards seriously and value building partnerships with our local communities,” said Kevin Tilden, CAW Vice President, Communications & External Affairs. “Together, we can make a difference in ensuring healthy and effective water environments.”

When implementing the program, CAW established criteria to allow for a wide variety of conservation projects to be eligible for funding, including watershed cleanups, educational programs, biodiversity projects, waterway restoration projects, wellhead protection initiatives and hazardous waste collection efforts.

Last year, CAW provided $5,000 to the Ocean Foundation in San Diego, to launch an innovative watershed restoration effort with a goal of inspiring 1,000 elementary students from low-income families to “take community action to protect watersheds and the environment.”

Another $5,000 was provided by CAW to the Monterey County Business Council to fund the Rainwater Catchment and Graywater Recycling Outreach program, dedicated to developing and distributing educational materials to more than 15,000 county residents. The materials emphasized the value of rainwater harvesting and graywater recycling.

Applications for this year’s grant program have been received. An internal CAW committee will review, rank and assess the applicants against the criteria (see call-out box). Winners will be notified by April 12 with an official letter and certificate from CAW.

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