Providing Freshwater for Metro Manila: Ipo watershed is a vital link in the Angat-Umiray-Ipo watershed which supplies 98% of the water needs of Metro Manila. Located close to the Metropolis, it has a total area of 7,236 hectares within the Municipalities. Norzagaray and City of San Jose Del Monte in the Province of Bulacan and the Municipality of Rodriguez in the Province of Rizal. Primarily consisting of public forestlands, forest cover has dramatically dropped from 85% to just 40% in recent years. The entire watershed is a protected area by virtue of several proclamations including the granting of a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title for the Indigenous Dumagat tribes in the watershed, covering 15.8% of the area.
The main thrust of the project is to go beyond the usual tree planting activities and expand it to forests and wetlands management to help ensure that the planted trees will actually grow to provide their benefits to the environment and the different stakeholders. This will include rehabilitation and enhancement of existing forests and wetlands, and not just the reforestation of denuded areas. A long-term sustainability plan will be put in place, managed by an effective management body. The project aims to develop a sustainable watershed management plan, form an effective management body for the micro-watersheds, minimize erosion and siltation within these micro-watersheds, mitigate pollution through waste management, conduct regular monitoring and evaluation of interventions and replant denuded areas to provide livelihood opportunities and maximize recovery from once-rampant logging.
Photos by Joshua Alibcag / WWF-Philippines