DENVER (CBS4) – Three companies on Tuesday donated $1 million to help sustain clean drinking water for Denver and other metro-area communities.

MillerCoors, PepsiCo and Wells Fargo donated the money to the Nature Conservancy also to help with forest restoration in the Upper South Platte River.

Heidi Sherk, with the group, said much of Denver’s water supply originates in the river. Protecting the forest and the water shed will help ensure a reliable supply, she said.

“After fires like the Hayman Fire, the water supply can be severely impacted through the erosion that happens after fires, which interrupts the supply of clean water,” Shrek said.

Years of aggressive fire suppression, coupled with periods of drought, have left more than six million acres of Colorado’s forests at risk for large and damaging wildfires.

Tuesday’s donation will be used to restore forests and clean water over the next three years by conducting restoration efforts on forest lands, including thinning trees, removing dry vegetation and conducting prescribed burns.

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