By Mikael Mulugeta

After two years as project manager for an NGO project in the Philippines, Marius Agua will serve as the project coordinator for the North Raccoon River Watershed Management Coalition (NRRWMC).

In this new role, Agua will work with the NRRWMC to facilitate watershed planning activities, manage the implementation of flood resiliency conservation projects, and share information with the public across the watershed to ensure the program’s effectiveness. He will help identify suitable locations to implement conservation practices designed to retain water and reduce flooding, as well as assist landowners as they work to reduce soil and nutrient loss.

Originally from Calapan City, Philippines, Agua received a BS in agricultural engineering from the University of the Philippines, an MS in soil science and water management from Wageningen Agricultural University, and a PhD in agricultural engineering from the University of the Philippines.

We caught up with Agua to discuss his new position.

Q: Where did you work before you took this position?

A: From 2016-2017, I was the project manager of an NGO project called “Strengthening Grassroots Advocacy to Protect Critical Watershed from the Mindoro Nickel Project” in Mindoro, Philippines. The Goldman Environmental Award funded the project.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your role with NRRWMC?

A: As project coordinator, I hope to orchestrate and contribute to the formulation of the North Raccoon River Watershed management plan by working with the different partners in the NRRWMC and the stakeholders in the watershed area.

Secondly, I hope to be instrumental in fulfilling the goals of the Iowa Watershed Approach (IWA).

Q: How did you hear about the opening and what was appealing about the position?

A: I found the position announcement online and I wanted to be productive and contribute something meaningful. Furthermore, my academic background and training, my experience in research and project engagement/consultancy, and my advocacy for environmental protection fit the position and the values of the IWA.

Q: Is there anything you would like to tell the NRRWMC and IWA partners?

A: First, I would like to thank the NRRWMC for giving me the opportunity to serve and contribute to the IWA program. I am excited to work with the coalition, with the different IWA partners, and with farmers and landowners. I am determined to work and win together!

Q: What are some hobbies of yours?

A: Lap swimming and table tennis.

Q: What do you enjoy reading?

A: I like to read the news and articles about health, water, politics, the environment, and the projects in my home province in Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. I also read books that reference topics related to my job and about water science and environmental issues.

Q: What is your favorite food?

A: I am lucky to have taste buds that are easy to please. However, my favorites include native Filipino dishes. I am a fan of vegetables and Asian food in general.

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