Millennium Water Alliance, Virridy, and the University of Colorado Boulder Partner to Drive Improved Water Security Through Climate Finance
Partnership Focused on Ensuring Reliable Water Sources for Communities Facing Climate Change with Carbon Credit Revenue
BOULDER, CO — August 29, 2022 — Virridy, dedicated to improving the management of environmental resources through technology, today announced a partnership with the Millennium Water Alliance and the University of Colorado Boulder to ensure that people facing the first impacts of climate change have access to reliable and safe drinking water. Under the partnership, the three organizations are combining innovative water monitoring technologies with expertise in carbon finance and water supply services to break down the barriers to reliable water supplies. The partnership is already supporting millions of people’s water supplies in Ethiopia and Kenya, with plans to rapidly expand over the next 12 months.
Climate change is driving increasingly severe and pervasive droughts all over the world. In East Africa, 20 million people currently face famine because drought has killed crops and livestock. And yet, often, there is water – but there is not enough funding to maintain the water pumps and water treatment systems. In lower-income settings like arid Kenya and Ethiopia, international donors and national governments pay to install pumps, but local communities do not have the funding to maintain them.
The Mortenson Center in Global Engineering and Resilience at the University of Colorado Boulder, the Millennium Water Alliance (MWA), and Virridy have come together to eliminate this funding challenge and deliver consistent water supplies beginning in rural communities in Ethiopia and Kenya. The partnership combines the University of Colorado Boulder’s specialization in methods, tools, and evaluations to improve water services, Virridy’s technologies and climate finance business model, and MWA’s on-the-ground partnerships with water service providers and communities in Kenya and Ethiopia.
The three organizations have already been working together on the Drought Resilience Impact Platform (DRIP), which monitors water security with satellite-connected sensors, creates actionable drought forecasts, and identifies broken water pumps and areas of water demand.
The DRIP system has been supported by USAID, NASA, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Now, the team is introducing a funding model based on climate finance. Under the Gold Standard voluntary carbon credit registry, organizations can earn carbon credits by reducing the demand to boil drinking water with firewood or fossil fuels. While most people end up drinking contaminated water instead of boiling it, the carbon credits are calculated based both on saving actual and demanded energy and replacing dirty water with clean water.
“The DRIP system, combined with carbon credit revenue, will allow the MWA and its members to partner with local communities to identify and repair water systems. Local repair organizations will be paid to ensure water is always available,” said Styvers Kathuni, MWA Kenya Program Director.
Virridy’s leadership team was the first to originate and scale carbon credit financed water supplies, demonstrating the first programs in Rwanda and Kenya in 2007 and 2010. These programs went on to reach millions of people with clean water, and generated millions of carbon credits to pay for ongoing water supply costs and to repay investors.
“This kind of public-private partnership isn’t a quick or easy fix to our water insecurity issues, but the effects of climate change are certain to intensify. Carbon markets should be part of the answer,” said Evan Thomas, Virridy founder, and CEO.
Virridy Inc. develops and deploys technologies to manage water, energy, and agricultural resources in remote, off-grid environments, including Africa and North America. The company’s low-cost satellite-connected sensors are compatible with a wide range of fixed infrastructure and support carbon credits, energy incentives, water permitting, and other environmental market commodities. For more information, please visit www.virridy.com, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter, or contact us at [email protected].
About the Millennium Water Alliance
MWA, headquartered in Washington, DC and Nairobi, Kenya, is a permanent global alliance of leading humanitarian, research, and business organizations that convenes a trusted network as a hub for collective impact, accelerates learning and innovation, and influences priorities and funding to scale sustained WASH services and resilience globally. MWA’s members and reach extend to over 90 countries globally.
About the University of Colorado Boulder
The Mortenson Center in Global Engineering and Resilience at the University of Colorado Boulder combines education, research, and partnerships to positively impact vulnerable people and their environment by improving development tools, policy and practice. Our vision is a world where everyone has safe water, sanitation, energy, food, shelter, and infrastructure. Established in 1876, CU Boulder is a Tier 1 public research university with five Nobel laureates, and nine MacArthur fellows and is the No. 1 public university recipient of NASA awards. CU Boulder is partnering with United Nations Human Rights to co-host the Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Summit on December 1-4, 2022.