Environmental services for the restoration and protection of springs and banks of watercourses

The recovery and protection of the springs and banks of the Arroio Andréas is one of the main aspects of Philip Morris' actions in the engagement of its value chain with the theme of Water Safety. The initiative is carried out within the scope of the Management Committee of the Pardo River Basin, in partnership with the City Hall of Vera Cruz (RS) and the University of Santa Cruz do Sul (UNISC). Arroio Andréas is the main source of water supply in the municipality of Vera Cruz (RS). Through the Protector das Águas program, the company monitors water quality and makes annual payments for environmental services to farmers participating in the program.

The “Protetor da Águas” project started from an effort by the Rio Pardo River Basin Management Committee to restore the banks of degraded watercourses of the main source of water supply for the city of Vera Cruz, Arroio Andreas, region where the Philip Morris Brazil operation is located.
The project aims to protect springs and riparian areas, seeking to encourage rural producers to adhere to good water and soil conservation practices and, with this, remunerate them. The adhesion of the producers was voluntary and they cooperate throughout the entire process.
The amounts paid to farmers who joined the project were calculated based on technical criteria, taking into account their crops and the size of the protected area. As a result, diagnoses were prepared based on the identification of the springs and data collection for each property, thus establishing action plans for protection and recovery. Since its implementation, there has been a significant improvement in water quality, with 90% of its volume considered in class 1 and 2 (good quality water).
Philip Morris Brasil is responsible for the Payment for Environmental Services – PES, in which farmers receive an annual amount for their work in recovering springs and watercourse margins.
There are 63 farmers participating in the program, who were originally identified by the River Basins Committee as directly influencing the water quality of Arroio Andreas. Since its implementation, the initiative has positively impacted more than 18,000 people in the urban and rural areas of Vera Cruz, being recognized by the National Water Agency (ANA) as part of the national Water Producer program.

The objective of Philip Morris Brasil is to continue providing support and assistance to the program in the coming years, following the evolution of its results, in addition to identifying other points of degradation in the same basin and applying methodology inspired by the initiative already implemented for the recovery of these areas. , engaging new local stakeholders.

In 2021, we started an evaluation of new areas to expand the program. In partnership with UNISC, diagnoses are being carried out in order to evaluate the water coming from these rural properties without any type of treatment or protection. Based on the diagnosis carried out, an individual intervention project begins at the source or bank of the river to be recovered.

Maintenance of the existing model and expansion to a greater number of producers and thus gain scale in the protection of springs and banks of Arroio Andreas.
Annual planning is carried out with the objective of evaluating the results obtained so far with the program, based on this analysis, the programming of actions to be undertaken in the following year is carried out. The plan for the coming years is to maintain the results of preservation actions through maintenance of these initiatives, increase the number of producers reached in order to guarantee water quality for producers and their families in the region where Philip's operations are located. Morris Brasil is present.

Annual reports produced by the University of Santa Cruz do Sul (UNISC) in the areas covered by the projects. Advances and maintenance are measured through diagnoses carried out by the University of Santa Cruz do Sul (UNISC), which periodically monitor water quality and assess and maintain protected and revegetated areas.

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