March 2011 – World Water Day 2011 on March 22nd is focusing on ‘Water for Cities’. A theme made relevant by the fact that, for the first time in human history, most of the world’s population live in cities. With perfect timing the World Land Trust (WLT) are able to unveil a fully sustainable watershed project in Ecuador that has protected the fresh drinking water supply to the city of Zamora and surrounding towns.
World Land Trust have successfully raised funds to help purchase and protect critically endangered habitats for 22 years and although areas of high biodiversity are prioritised, assessing a region’s potential for sustainable watershed projects is fast becoming an additional criteria for WLT funding priority.
WLT has worked alongside NGO, Nature and Culture International, Ecuador, to protect watersheds through land purchase in the Upper Amazon of Ecuador. The aim was to enlarge a key municipal reserve to protect a highly bio diverse buffer zone of the Podocarpus National Park, along with high altitude tropical forest ecosystems that were also important in provided drinking water to communities lower down. WLT funds were used to purchase the Río Nea property protecting of 280 hectares of cloud forest including the headwaters of the Nea River, which is the source of water for 10,000 people in the city of Zamora and surrounding towns.
To make this model sustainable WLT funding has been matched with funds provided by the Municipality of Zamora through its contributions to the Southern Ecuador Regional Water Fund. Under this fund Zamora began to implement a levy to all citizens to preserve and manage watersheds. This now generates US$15,000 per year which is used to purchase and manage additional critical forested properties, and a filtration plant.
World Water Day 2011 hopes to encourage governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenge of urban water management. The Zamora municipality and Nature and Culture International, Ecuador model fully embraces this ideology and demonstrates in quantifiable terms how various stakeholders can work together to make it a reality.
World Land Trust and their supporters have traditionally helped fund land purchase, tree plantings and carbon projects. However supporters are also showing an increasing interest in projects with quantified biodiversity and water benefits, indicating a desire to mitigate their environmental footprint on a larger and more diverse scale.
For more information please contact Emma Beckett PR on:
Tel: 0207 637 2967 or email: emma*AT*emmabeckettpr.com (To prevent spam we cannot show the email address in full. Please replace *AT* with @ in your email TO field.)
Full Press release: http://www.worldlandtrust.org/documents/world-water-day-2011-pr.pdf (148KB) (opens in new window)
*Roger Wilson who is Senior Conservationist and Special Projects Development at the World Land Trust is available for interview.