The WM Phoenix Open holds many titles – The People’s Open and The Greenest Show on Grass are two of the more popular monikers. What you may not know is that the Scottsdale TOUR-stop also holds the title as the largest zero-waste sporting event in the world. Since 2013, WM has diverted 100 percent of tournament waste through recycling, composting, donation, reuse or creating energy. The tournament’s sustainability efforts however do not end there, as the event also tracks and offsets greenhouse gas emissions, uses renewable energy to power the tournament, has a food waste reduction program, and conserves and restores water.
Water sustainability for the WM Phoenix Open starts with smart water usage at the event and extends to water restoration projects across the state of Arizona. Since 2015, WM and the tournament host Thunderbirds have partnered with Change the Course, a program of the Bonneville Environment Foundation, to leverage the WM Phoenix Open’s influence and the power of sports to drive awareness around water conservation and to directly restore water to Arizona rivers and communities. Over the course of this eight-year initiative, the WM Phoenix Open and Change the Course partners have helped restore 368 million gallons of freshwater to Arizona ecosystems and communities.
In 2022, the partnership is supporting DigDeep’s Navajo Water Project bringing fresh, running water to communities on the Navajo Nation, which spans 27,000 square miles across Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Over 30% of residents on the Navajo Nation live without running water at home, a dire reality that contributed to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic. This year, WM and The Thunderbirds are partnering with tournament sponsors, vendors and partners, including M Culinary Concepts, Trademark Visual, Clayton Floor Covering, Unifi, Swire Coca-Cola, the PGA TOUR and the TPC Scottdale, to increase awareness about the Navajo Water Project.
The Navajo Water Project is a community-managed utility alternative that brings hot and cold running water to homes that are not connected to piped water or sewer lines. The Navajo Water Project is Indigenous-led and Indigenous-staffed, run by Navajo Water Project Executive Director and Diné activist Emma Robbins. In 2018, the Navajo Water Project won the US Water Prize for the Home Water System design they have installed in hundreds of homes in remote parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. In 2021, the Navajo Water Project’s ‘Suitcase Home Water System,’ engineered to allow for contactless installation during the COVID-19 pandemic, was honored by Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Awards. The Navajo Water Project is the first regional program of DigDeep, a national nonprofit organization working to ensure every American has access to a tap and toilet inside their homes.
By supporting the Navajo Water Project and other Change the Course initiatives, the WM Phoenix Open is changing the course of Arizona’s freshwater future, while bringing fresh water to communities in need.