Change the Course FAQ

Q: Where do I make the free pledge to conserve?

A: You can make the pledge online at or use your phone to text “river” to 77177. If you use the text option you’ll receive a confirmation text—you can opt out of receiving future texts at any time.


Q: What are the goals of the Change the Course campaign?

A: Change the Course was piloted in the Colorado River Basin. By the conclusion of the 3-year pilot, over 130,000 individuals made a pledge to conserve water, and over 2 dozen corporate sponsors joined the movement. As a result, over four billion gallons of water were restored to depleted rivers and streams from the headwaters in the Rockies to the delta in Mexico.

Change the Course is building a movement by engaging the public and the business community in reducing water footprints and returning water to nature. For every personal pledge to conserve, Change the Course returns 1,000 gallons to ecosystems in need. With support from our corporate sponsors, we partner with on-the-ground conservation groups to fund innovative projects that restore water and enhance water security.


Q: How does making a pledge to Change the Course really make a difference?

A: Simply put, your pledge equals 1,000 gallons restored to an ecosystem in need. Yet, beyond this simple equation, your commitment to conserve also makes you part of a national movement. Our corporate sponsors are interested in helping us build a movement that encourages conservation from individuals (like you) and industry—as well as the development of innovative projects that restore water and enhance water security.


Q: People really use 2,000 gallons of water a day? That sounds like a lot more than any other statistic I’ve read before!

A: Water is embedded in everything we use, wear, eat and buy, so yes, it takes about 2,000 gallons4 of water a day to keep the average American’s lifestyle afloat. A simple cotton shirt takes about 700 gallons of water to make—most of it to grow the cotton out in the field. Our water use at home, indoors and outdoors, averages about 100 gallons5 per person per day. And even though this home use is only about 5%6 of our daily water footprint, conserving at home is important because it helps protect the rivers and lakes in our communities. Learn more about your embedded water footprint with the National Geographic water footprint calculator at By better understanding how much water it takes to keep our lifestyles afloat, we can make some easy and wise choices to conserve – and help replenish depleted rivers.


Q: So, I made the pledge, what else can I do to make a difference?

A: Change the Course encourages you to seek out ways in your every-day life to make an impact. By making some simple and wise choices, we can each shrink our personal water footprint. Check out these Water Conservation Tips to get you started.




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