The partnership between MWSS and the General Nakar is as strong as ever, as it enters its fifth year of integrated area development and sustainable management of the Umiray River Watershed, an existing source of water, and the Kaliwa, Kanan, and Agos watersheds, which will become future sources of water.  Protecting said watersheds, is critical to mitigate the risks associated with the quality and quantity of raw water supplied to Metro Manila and portions of Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite.

Through a Memorandum of Agreement signed with General Nakar in 2017, watershed management initiatives have expanded to include not only climate responsive integrated land use planning, watershed protection, restoration, and management, but also institutional strengthening and community development .  MWSS annually transfers funds to the LGU-General Nakar through funding support from the Common Purpose Facilities (CPF), a joint venture between Manila Water and Maynilad, to support programs that alleviate human-induced pressures on water sources that supplement raw water from Angat Dam.   The LGU-Nakar submits its annual Work and Financial Plan (WFP) to the MWSS-chaired Oversight Committee.  The WFP, provides the participatory governance in programs like “Agapay Pangkabuhayan sa Tubig Kanlungan” and the  “Nursery Establishment /Forest Restoration Projects”.   The Oversight Committee on the other hand is comprised of representatives from the MWSS/CPF and the Sustainable Integrated Area Development (SIAD) Project Office which identifies watershed planning points to ensure that science, policy, and environmental ethics are all incorporated into forest protection, livelihood development, and landscape restoration.

By starting small projects, the partnership help community engagement grow with increased understanding on the health of the watershed and the well-being of communities, thereby promoting inclusive governance, resource mobilization, and integrated development for all peoples who depend on the watershed.

As the MWSS team traveled to witness the distribution of seed money to SIAD’s program beneficiaries on 6 December 2021, one cannot help but be proud of the partnership’s progress: lush and green forests, community centers strewn with trees and plants, rivers and streams constantly flowing, and even locals drinking water from a waterfall or swift-moving stream.

MWSS Administrator Cleofas said during her message to the program beneficiaries . . ..  “Engaging in this meaningful endeavor reminds me that it’s not just our own backyard that is benefiting from our work. We are able to share best practices with other stewardship groups working in very challenging circumstances but are still deeply committed to stewarding their watershed.   The work we are doing here presents a good model to be replicated in the watersheds of Ipo-Angat, Upper Marikina, and Laguna de Bay. She also thanked the program beneficiaries for pursuing MWSS’ watershed security advocacy and the LGU Nakar for its leadership in providing other LGUs a model to follow while doing their share for Mother Earth.