Realities of watershed management in the Philippines: Synthesis of case studies (2004)

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This paper presents a synthesis of four case studies of watershed management experiences in the Philippines, primarily to provide insight on why watershed management approach has not gained wider recognition in the country despite being renowned internationally. The paper starts by presenting a brief description for each case study involving the watersheds of Maasin, Magat, Manupali, and Balian sub-watershed to account for their critical role as water supply support systems to downstream communities. The paper also provides highlights on various initiatives undertaken by the Local Government Units, NGOs, private sector etc in their effort to protect these watersheds from environmental degradation. The case studies focus on the elements that are present or absent in the various watersheds as they affect the implementation of watershed management approach. These elements are categorised into:
  • legal and institutional infrastructure;
  • social capital;
  • financial/economic capital as well as technical and administrative capital of the watershed managers.
The results and recommendations of the case studies indicate that:
  • water-based economic activities in the lowlands can only be sustained through good watershed management;
  • the effective implementation of watershed management requires some level of financial capital, a community or group of communities with good enough level of intellectual and social capitals and the presence of a legal and institutional framework to support the watershed approach;
  • the level of these various forms of capital varies across watershed, thereby leading to differences in the level of watershed management implementation as well;
  • the sustained flow of high quality water that feeds the household water requirements, fuels the industries and power sector and irrigates farmlands in downstream communitiesc— bare all proofs that watershed protection is a valuable activity;
  • understanding the link between watershed protection and water supply services by the watershed populace is of critical importance;
  • the need of awareness of watershed protection and good water supply through information, education and communication (IEC) efforts;
  • the need for payments of environmental services as previous initiatives undertaken by national forest protection programs and other community-based livelihood activities and reforestation projects are just short-lived management initiatives.
Language: English
Imprint: Philippine Institute for Development Studies:<br /> </span> 2004
Series: Discussion paper,