Saturday, April 10, 2010

Protecting watersheds in the Philippines

Philippine Star: Amid the continuing threat of the El Niño weather phenomenon, Manila Water Co. is vigorously pursuing watershed reforestation and implementing climate change adaptation programs to help ensure sustainable water supply for Metro Manila residents. In 2007, Manila Water became the first Philippine company to have a climate change policy which covers climate change mitigation and adaptation, disaster response and mitigation, and greenhouse gas monitoring.

“Our mandate is to make sure that there is adequate water supply within our concession area. We can only do that if we have reliable water sources over the long-term and our watershed points are crucial components of the water cycle,” said Manila Water president Jose Rene Almendras during a recent forum with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP).

Manila Water is currently working with local governments and other private firms to protect three important watersheds, namely: the Angat and Ipo Watersheds in Norzagaray, Bulacan and the La Mesa Watershed in Quezon City. The Angat Watershed, which houses the Angat Dam, has a combined area of 56,000 hectares and provides 97 percent of the water supply of Metro Manila while the adjacent Ipo Watershed has an area of 6,600 hectares. The La Mesa Watershed on the other hand has combined lot area 2,700 hectares.

Due to deforestation, Angat’s forest cover is now only 80 percent; Ipo, 30 percent; and La Mesa, 85 percent. Almendras said Manila Water is also taking an active role in reforesting another vital watershed area, the Marikina Watershed, which straddles a huge part of Rizal province, including Antipolo and covers about 28,000 hectares…

Map of Metro Manila showing the location of Quezon City, by Magalhães, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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