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Manila Water underpins commitment to stem climate change impact through watershed protection
IN light of severe weather-related calamities of recent years, Manila Water reiterates its undertaking towards integrating environmental protection and sustainability in its operations and services.
The company’s sustainability team recognizes that “climate change has significantly altered every aspect of the water space – a reality that nations continue to address along with challenges concerning increasing population and density in highly urbanized areas. The challenge for governments and the private sector is striking the delicate balance between the provision of sufficient water supply for economic growth and social development and allowing the environment to naturally replenish the water sources to ensure sustainability. As such, Manila Water acknowledges the primary importance of water security, considering water supply challenges particularly in Metro Manila. This underscores the key risks in relation to water security, and the company has taken measures to align its operations with the new realities it now faces. These measures support Manila Water’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on Clean Water and Sanitation.”
To operationalize this commitment, Manila Water has staunchly advocated for reforestation through the project Adopt-a-Watershed program since 2006 where it has planted a total of 1,128,112 trees in Ipo, La Mesa, Upper Marikina and General Nakar watersheds by the end of 2020.
In support of the “Annual Million Trees Challenge” of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), Manila Water committed to plant additional 70,000 trees. Under the AMTC, Manila Water is committed to reforest La Mesa and Upper Marikina Watersheds. The company’s chairman, Enrique K. Razon Jr., also serves as one of the institutional partners of the Million Trees Foundation, Inc., the official implementing partner of MWSS for the massive tree-planting project.
Manila Water has also long been working with ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. – Bantay Kalikasan in managing and reforesting the La Mesa Watershed. Last year, despite the pandemic, the organizations still managed to plant a total of 10,000 high quality seedlings of different indigenous forest trees species, covering 25 hectares of La Mesa Watershed. A huge headway, however, has already been accomplished in 2018 and 2019, with 40,000 seedlings planted covering 100 hectares, and 50,000 seedlings scattered across 125 hectares, in those respective years. Survival rate of these saplings surpassed the national target of 85 percent, landing at 91 percent and 90 percent for 2018 and 2019, respectively, as validated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – National Capital Region (DENR – NCR). This is due to continuous maintenance by Manila Water and Bantay Kalikasan of previously enriched areas for a period of three years which include ring weeding, replanting and fertilizer application.
Manila Water has also partnered with Fostering People’s Empower, Education and Enterprise (FPE3) in reforesting 256 hectares of Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape – Tayabasan Sub-Watershed from 2019 to 2020 where a total of 160,000 seedlings has been planted and maintained. The project has a survival rate of 87 percent as validated through an inspection with the DENR Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) of Rizal.
Manila Water East Zone Group Director for Operations Arnold Jether Mortera further emphasized the company’s obligation towards sustainability throughout its full-cycle operations. “Protecting the watersheds around our sources of water is vital to guaranteeing the viability and sustainability of our operations and services. Part of this responsibility towards environmental protection is ensuring proper wastewater treatment, which supports raw water supply replenishment in the environment,” adds Mortera.