Tuesday, June 25, 2019

More than 3,000 Remote Surigao del Sur Households Now Connected to cCean, Sustainable Water Source

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Dayjo a carinderia owner, was close to shutting down her small business due to unstable water supply, in the process risking the jobs of her staff, the schooling of her children, and the daily needs of her family.

Like Dayjo, residents of Cagwait municipality in Surigao del Sur would struggle to get clean water to their households especially during the dry season. Unfortunately, the local water concessionaire could not deliver enough water to the community, so residents had to collect rainwater, treat murky water from artesian wells, and carry buckets of water into their homes every day to fulfill their daily water needs.

Cagwait, being an agriculture-based community, relies heavily on water. The municipality produces rice, coconut, corn and other cash crops, and vegetables. The water needs of the agricultural and other economic activities of the municipality are served by the local utility, Aras-asan/Unidad Rural Waterworks & Sanitation Association, Inc. (AURWSA). AURWSA in turn sources the water from Tambacan Creek and Tabon-tabon Creek, which have a combined capacity of only 315 cubic meters, which is inadequate to serve the needs of Cagwait’s two barangays.

The Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF), together with the Coca-Cola Foundation, started to work with AURWSA in 2007 to develop another water source by the Camuning Creek, a body of water upstream of the Tambacan creek to stabilize Cagwait’s water supply and expand their services to another community, Barangay Tubo-Tubo, which covers more than 500 households. PEF also helped AURWSA repair and build additional infrastructure to the water system, including a mini dam, filtration box, transmission and distribution water pipes, main meter, valves, chlorinator, and water tanks. AURWSA’s new water system can now serve the needs of the community for another 10 years.

Apart from upgrading the communities’ waterworks, PEF provided installation and training for billing and accounting systems, entrepreneurship management, and water quality management to AURWSA’s management and personnel.

Having now an improved water system, AURSWA has taken the additional step of conserving the watershed. They have held regular activities that center on forest-farming, protecting the existing vegetation, and mitigating the effects of human activity in the watershed.

With the help of PEF, at least 3,000 residents from barangays Aras-asan, Unidad and Tubo-tubo are now assured to have a safe, stable, and clean water source for their homes and enterprises for the next decade.

“This small business is crucial to our survival. Not just our family, but also to our staff who works with us. With the stable water source, we can operate smoothly and we are assured that it is safe and clean to service our needs and our customers,” said Dayjo.

PEF has invested close to PHP 200 million in various water projects alone since its founding in 2001, and has partnered with civil society and community organizations to provide safe and affordable water to over 450,000 households across the nation.

“We are firm about the sustainability of all the projects we engage in. We highly value the community response and participation. After all, the projects we help build are meant to serve the community,” said PEF Executive Director Roberto Calingo. “Providing basic services to poor communities in the country has been our long-standing advocacy and commitment to Filipino families.”

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