Maturity Progression: Engagement
Region: North & Central America
Scope: Facility / River Basin

Case Study Overview:

This case study drawn from the CEO Water Mandate’s Guide to Water-Related Collective Action.


Molson Coors Brewing Company (formerly Coors Brewing Company) in Golden, Colorado, has a substantial presence in the Clear Creek Watershed, drawing groundwater for beer production and surface water to support operations. Beginning in the early to mid-1980s, Clear Creek surface water came under substantial pressure from a combination of diverse water quality and quantity issues stemming from historical activities and an upsurge in population and economic growth in the region.

With a need for and commitment to high-quality water and overall watershed health, Molson Coors became the prime motivator in a collective watershed movement targeted at engaging a broad range of interested parties in efforts to identify, fund, and implement watershed-improvement projects. These efforts led to the formation of the Clear Creek Watershed Forum. Its goal is to bring together stakeholders from throughout the watershed to share knowledge, attitudes, concerns, and values in order to develop cooperative strategies and projects that promote sustainable watershed management and water quality improvements. The forum held its first structured stakeholder gathering in 1993, drawing together nearly 100 highly diverse watershed participants—ranging from mountain rural to urban, agricultural to industrial, and recreational to regulatory—to address key watershed issues, including funding, project, and research priorities.

Since that time, biannual forums have been held to consult with the stakeholders to update and modify watershed management priorities and investments, with a focus on improving the ecological, economic, and societal issues within the watershed. Molson Coors, a critical catalyst and source of funding at the inception of collective action efforts in Clear Creek, today continues to play an active role in the forum— and in several other Clear Creek watershed initiatives, including the Clear Creek Watershed Foundation and Upper Clear Creek Watershed Association—while other key watershed interests have joined in to own and provide support for continuing engagement efforts.

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