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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will spearhead the local celebration of the World Water Day (WWD) this year, with focus on the role of nature in addressing the biggest water-related problems in the early 21st century.


WWD is observed annually on March 22 to raise awareness about the importance of water and sustainable development. This year’s theme is “Nature for Water,” which emphasizes the potential for nature-based solutions (NbS) to address mounting water-related problems facing the planet.


The DENR, through its River Basin Control Office (RBCO), will kick off the WWD celebration at the La Mesa Nature Reserve in Quezon City on March 15.


Developed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the NbS concept promotes nature conservation and development, such as introducing agroforestry and restoring wetlands to improve access to food.


RBCO Executive Director Antonio M. Daño said this year’s celebration aims to “inspire people around the world to learn more about water-related issues, share it to other people, and take action to make a difference, particularly to developing countries.”


As part of the WWD observance, water concessionaire Manila Water Company Inc. will host a five-kilometer “nature walk”—a physical and educational activity— at 8:30 a.m. on March 15 at the La Mesa Nature Reserve.


“Participants will be taught about the reserve’s native trees and birds to gain a deeper appreciation of the value of taking care of ecosystems and protecting the watershed,” Daño said.


On the same day, DENR-National Capital Region (NCR) will host the Lakbay Manila Bay at the La Mesa Arboretum in Quezon City.


Other activities include Eco Experience in Biak na Bato Nature Park, Bulacan (March 16); World Water Day at Pangil River Eco-Tourism Park, Laguna (March 16-17); Underground River Trail Nature Walk, Palawan (March 18); Summit on Bamboo Plantation and Production at the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Multipurpose Court (March 20); and Plant for Life Mangrove Planting, Malabon City (March 21).


The highlight of the celebration is the World Water Day Awards, sponsored by Maynilad, LWUA, Laguna Lake Development Authority, DENR-NCR, National Water Resources Board, Environmental Management Bureau, Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, and Department of Public Works and Highways.


Slated for March 22, the award-giving body will honor individuals, institutions, and programs that made strides in achieving water and water environment sustainability in the Philippines.


Since 2015, a total of 54 “water champions” have been recognized which include leaders of indigenous peoples, community workers, media personalities, local government units and academe based organizations.


The following are the awards to be given out this year: Kampeon ng Lawa; Huwarang Lingkod Tubig; Kampeon ng Katubigan Award; Water-Wise City Award; Water Leadership Award; Huwarang Alagad ng Ilog Pasig; and Water Warrior Award.


The awarding ceremony will be held at Novotel Manila in Cubao, Quezon City at 2 p.m. on March 22. ###

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