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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tree planting now required before tapping water from watersheds

MANILA, Philippines — In a bid to protect the country's watersheds, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will now require those drawing water from watersheds to plant trees first.

Environment Secretary Jose Atienza Jr. said this condition aims to assure the long-term survival and responsible use of the country's watersheds.

"The availability and quality of our water supply depends on our watersheds. Therefore, we should see to it that (watersheds) are protected and preserved, which can be effectively done through the planting of trees in these areas," Atienza, who also chairs the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), said in an article on the DENR website (

He said tree planting will make people who apply for permits to extract surface and groundwater from watersheds to become more responsible.

A technical working group will be created to formulate the guidelines to implement the new requirement, in coordination with the DENR's Forest Management Bureau.

Issues the technical working group will look into are the appropriate number of trees to be planted corresponding to the amount of water granted, the type of forest species to be planted and the location of the tree planting activities.

Applicants for water permits range from industrial companies to individual farmers or tradesmen.

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The painting is by Nancy Merkle

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