Water Withdrawal

EDC utilizes water for both domestic and operational  purposes. Our geothermal assets use water in  various phases of our operations: for drilling, power  plant cooling towers, and washing equipment  during maintenance activities.  

EDC ensures that all water sources in the sites are  permitted, monthly consumptions are in compliance  with regulatory limits, and that EDC operations do  not contribute to water stress. Our comprehensive  site watershed management programs ensure  sustainable water from within our area of operation  and flowing downstream. Externally, water use is  reported to the Department of Environment and  Natural Resources – Environmental Management  Bureau (DENR-EMB); and to the National Water  Resources Board (NWRB). Historical water  withdrawal has been well below permitted limits.  

This figure shows the amount of water withdrawn  by each EDC geothermal facility from 2016 to  2021. Leyte recorded a 73% reduction in water  withdrawal in 2021 after its drilling operations  and workover activities commenced in 2019. In the  same year, Negros and Mindanao facilities were  found to have a 27% and 68% increase in water  withdrawal due to the commencement of drilling  activities in their respective sites.  

Despite a significant increase in water use  brought about by drilling works in 2021, EDC  extracted water way below 5% of the estimated  catchment output. Ensuring minimal water stress  and availability of clean water resources for use  by communities downstream are equally important  since we may be facing water-related issues based  on the climate and water risk projections (PAGASA,  2018; Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas).

To further minimize our impacts, we participate in  water management at the watershed level on a  larger scale through our geographic Watershed  Management Plan. EDC has a Water Budget Study,  which simulates the water balance contribution at the  catchment scale at each geothermal area. Using this  study and assessing our annual discharge established  more climate-resilient, responsive, and strategic  watershed management approaches.  

For a more comprehensive, ecosystem-based  management, EDC collaborates actively with external  stakeholders to protect, rehabilitate, and restore  the forest and promote development in upland  communities. We constantly improve these programs  and feedback mechanisms to enable more efficient  water monitoring and watershed management.  

Through our BINHI and watershed management  programs, EDC does its part in addressing the  deforestation and forest degradation crisis. These  initiatives also aim to mitigate the impacts of the  worsening climate change effects such as forest loss  and vegetation mortality.  

Challenges in the water supply are evident as well.  Based on the 2017 Philippine Climate Change  Assessment Working Group 2: Impacts, Vulnerabilities,  and Adaptation, we are faced with a potential drop in  water supply due to climate change, a growing water  use competition, and an increase in water pricing  (Cruz et al., 2017). These are also addressed through  our watershed management initiatives. In 2021,  we observed sustainable water withdrawal within  the allowed limits, ensuring an insignificant effect  on freshwater resources. During the year, EDC also  restored an additional 570 hectares of forests across  our project sites with indigenous trees under the BINHI  program which have an 80% survival rate. With an  enhanced forest cover, we can help the environment  regenerate and sustain freshwater supply