Boracay Water, an operating unit of Manila Water under its subsidiary Manila Water Philippine Ventures, designed a holistic, multi-stakeholder environmental program called the “Highland to Ocean” or H2O program to protect the resources where the water supply of Boracay Water comes from. Projects under the H2O program cover the mountains of Nabaoy (Highland) down to the ocean reefs under the waters surrounding the island (Ocean).
Boracay Island has been consistently recognized around the world as one of the premier tourist destinations because of its pristine beaches and powdery white sand. As the Island is highly dependent on tourism for economic viability, it needs to address the continuing threat of environmental degradation due to increasing usage of water and subsequent treatment and disposal of wastewater brought about by the influx of tourists, domestic and foreign alike.
Despite its closure in 2018 to undergo massive rehabilitation, Boracay Island emerged again as the Top Island in Asia in 2022 by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine. As the pandemic restrictions continue to ease up, tourist arrival in the island increased by 432%: a total of 1,759,100 million tourists in 2022, compared to 330,620 total visitors in 2021.
As part of its steadfast commitment to ensure sustainability of the island paradise, Boracay Water, a subsidiary of Manila Water Philippine Ventures and a concessionaire of Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), designed a holistic, multi-stakeholder environmental program called “Boracay H2O” or the “Boracay Highland to Ocean”. The said program aims to protect the environment by implementing different initiatives that will protect the water sources coming from the mountains of Nabaoy (Highland) which flows through the Nabaoy River and watershed, down to the ocean reefs under the waters surrounding the island (Ocean). The said program was recognized with a Silver Award in the recently held 58th Anvil Awards given by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines.
Boracay Water partnered with public and private stakeholders in Boracay for the implementation of its initiatives, from watershed management, river management, wastewater and solid waste management (Amot Amot Kita a Malimpyong Boracay or Let’s do our share for a cleaner Boracay), coastal resource management, advocacy campaigns, and governance initiatives. For 2018-2023, Boracay Water invested P2.7-M to fund projects under H2O.
The said program was awarded the Silver Anvil Award in the recently held 58th Anvil Awards, under the PR Program on a Sustained Basis – Advocacy Communication category.
Boracay Water also worked closely with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region VI together with local government units of Malay, Barangay Nabaoy Council, and the Nabaoy Forest and Farmers Development Association (NAFFDA) to adopt 40 hectares of the Nabaoy Watershed for five years wherein a total of 33,320 trees (endemic and fruit trees) will be planted. The project aims to sustain the water supply at the same time prevent flooding in the Nabaoy River that may result in high water turbidity, which leads to compromised water quality and availability in Boracay Water’s service area. The program also aims to provide an alternative livelihood program for farmers and illegal loggers. Within 12 years, Boracay Water has also planted 67,021 trees with the help of over 780 volunteers.
In 2022, the Company launched "Project Monsoon", a wastewater management program addressing the illegal connection of the rainwater downspout to the sewer network of Boracay Water. The project also provides free mandatory sewer connection of the residential accounts located within 100 meters from the centralized sewer network (Amihan Program). In previous years, the local government also adopted a resolution requiring the community to construct a three-chamber standard communal septic tank to improve Nabaoy River’s water quality and protecting the health of the community dependent on the river water.
Boracay Water’s coastal resource management program “Coral REEFhabilitation” was established in May 2018 to rehabilitate the degraded coral reef in Bulabog Beach through coral transplantation and coastal clean-up.
In support of proper waste management and disposal in the island, a total of 749.4 kilos of garbage were collected and properly segregated in the series of river and coastal clean-ups, while 408 kilos of garbage were collected from underwater clean-up activities.
Through H2O, Boracay Water was able to underscore the importance of addressing critical environmental issues through strong collaboration with stakeholder groups and conduct of regular information, education, and communication campaigns about the importance of watershed protection and wastewater management, and the importance of sharing resources and expertise to ensure the sustainability of Boracay Island.