La Mesa Dam
La Mesa Dam is a 700-hectare water reservoir built to supply water to Metro Manila and its suburbs. It is part of a 2,000-hectare watershed located in Fairview, Quezon City, San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan and Rodriguez, Rizal. The reservoir is elevated at 100 meters above sea level.
The property is owned by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) which is a government agency.
Due to unchecked increase in population in the area, illegal squatting, poaching and logging, La Mesa Watershed came into disrepair, threatening its existence and contamination of toxic elements.
In 1999, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System established partnership with ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. under its Bantay Kalikasan (Nature Watch) project. The partnership undertook the Save La Mesa Watershed Project which was aimed to rehabilitate, reforest, preserve and protect La Mesa Watershed with a total area of 1500 hectares. Since the project started 10 years ago, only 158 hectares remain to be planted. The strategy incorporated active participation of the general public surrounding the area and other stakeholders.
To sustain the Save La Mesa Watershed Project, Bantay Kalikasan, also partnered with the Quezon City government, rehabilitated and renovated a 33 hectare public park located right outside the natural boundaries of the watershed.
In September 2004, MWSS opend the La Mesa Ecopark to the public. The park features the following facilities:
- Picnic Grounds
- Salt Water Swimming Pool
- Boating Lagoon
- Fishing Lagoon
- Fitness and Mountain Bike Trail
- Flower Terraces
- Butterfly Trail and Hatchery
Revenues generated by La Mesa Ecopark administration is being utilized for the continuous preservation and protection of La Mesa Watershed.
The park itself is a living classroom and laboratory for environmental education and is aimed at becoming as a center for biodiversity conservation. Since 2006, over 300 different schools visited the ecopark for educational field trips. The park has now served as a popular destination for family outings and picnics, water sports activities, film productions among others.