Country Water Actions

Country water actions are stories that showcase water reforms undertaken by individuals, communities, organizations, and governments in Asia-Pacific countries and elsewhere.

Philippines: Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project
November 2004

BACKGROUND On average, two out of three people in the rural areas of the Philippines lack access to potable water. This proportion is markedly higher than the Asian average of one in three people. The provision of water supply and sanitation facilities in rural areas is, therefore, a priority of the Philippine Government. ADB's Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project focuses on some 3,000 rural communities in the 20 poorest provinces in the country. Among its objectives are to: Provide safe, adequate and reliable WSS services to selected low-income rural communities through community-based arrangements Support health and hygiene education, water quality surveillance, and community management activities The Project is divided into two parts. Part 1- institutional development, which involves capacity building for local institutions, organization of village-level water associations (Barangay Waterworks and Sanitation Association -BWSA), health and hygiene education, and water quality control and surveillance Part 2- WSS facilities, which involves the construction of some 6,100 water supply systems, and rehabilitation of 2,000 shallow wells and 130 springs. To date, the Project has resulted in the construction of 5,869 water supply facilities, organization of 4,172 BWSAs, and training of about 4000 representatives of communities and local institutions. On the sanitation side, it has yielded some 378 institutional toilets, 91.400 private toilets and 64 water analysis laboratories. GOOD PRACTICES The Project has introduced several innovations and good practices, specifically in terms of mobilizing the communities and enabling them to manage their own water supply systems. This section will focus on three of the more successful sites for this project.

GUIMARAS* Guimaras, considered one of the exotic islands in the Philippines, was once a sub-province of Iloilo, and was only proclaimed as a full-pledged province on May 22, 1992. It has 5 towns, with Jordan town as the capital. It has a land area of 604.65 sq. km, and a population estimated at 117,990. The province is basically agricultural with palay, coconut, mango, vegetables, livestock, poultry and fishing as major products. Its major industries are tourism, fruit processing, coconut processing, handicrafts making, mining, quarrying and lime production. Guimaras actively implements the Project with strong support from the provincial management. Its governor, Hon. J. Nava, is a medical doctor who practices at his free time, and has a good knowledge of water-related diseases. A highly motivated team of women runs the BWSA. In addition to resources given by DPWH and the provincial government, the BWSA was able to raise funds to construct a water tank. A spring water source about 2 km away from the barangay was equipped with a submersible pump and a generator. This was provided to them by the Department of Public Works and Highways, together with well and pipe materials. A total of 16 communal faucets were also installed to serve 76 households of about 400 persons, which would be expanded to 34 more households. The BWSA operates and maintains one water supply system. They collecteded P50 per household per month (/HH-mo) up to December 2002, and increased this to P60/HH-mo from January 2003.

BILIRAN PROVINCE Biliran province has a population of about 140,000 residing in 132 barangays in 8 municipalities. The Provincial Planning and Development Office has 8 staff and is handling several projects in coordination with the Provincial Engineering Office, which mainly handles procurement and construction supervision. Water supply has been a priority project in the province. To date, the target of establishing 77 BWSAs was achieved and their training is completed. A total of 5,635 households benefited from the completed facilities. Barangay Lucson, Naval Municipality. This barangay developed a spring source (2.7 km away) and a distribution network for about 100 households, of which 46 households installed individual house connections at their own cost. The BWSA President, a former Overseas Filipino Worker, acts as caretaker of the system. The BWSA disinfects the two water tanks every 3 months. BWSA holds a general assembly annually in March and collects P100 per year per household during the assembly. Haguikhican Elementary School. This school received 3 toilet units, each one attached to an existing classroom. The students kept the toilets clean. The school principal found that it is better to attach toilet to the classroom to minimize class disruption. Public Toilet, Almeria Municipality. A public toilet was built in the municipal hall complex. No user charge was collected. The municipality operates and maintains it by assigning a caretaker. SOUTHERN LEYTE PROVINCE Southern Leyte has a population of about 135,000 residing in 376 barangays in 18 municipalities and 1 city. The governor prioritizes the Project and provides various assistances for its implementation. To date, 260 BWSAs were organized and 164 BASAs were trained out of targeted 376 BWSAs. Generally, BWSAs collect P10 per month per household for a spring-based water supply system while BWSAs that runs deep or shallow wells collect fees only when needed. The Project was the first to introduce the BWSA concept in this province, where the government used to provide and maintain water supply facilities using its funds. Barangay Pasay, Massin City. Barangay Pasay has a population of 900 with 173 households. A deep well located below the service area was equipped with electrical pump provided by the Project. The water was pumped up to a storage tank on a hill and then distributed to 173 houses by gravity. Of the 173 households, 70 households have individual connections and the rest use communal faucets.

The BWSA holds a general assembly quarterly. It collects P100/mo-HH (per month per household) for those who have individual connections and P20-40/mo-HH for communal faucet users depending on their household size. The BWSA has monthly revenue of about P7,000 on the average that sufficiently covers the electrical cost of P3,0004,000. The BWSA has found that the pumping cost could be cheaper by buying electricity from the local electric company rather than using the generator. The BWSA well understands the importance of cost recovery to sustain the facilities. The BWSA is planning to install water meters for individual connections.

Barangay Libhu. The barangay's water supply system was rehabilitated and expanded under the Project. Almost all population (about 1,800 people from 300 households) of the barangay benefited. Three sub-communities of the barangay have individual house connections and two other sub-communities have communal faucets. The barangay's infrastructure committee chairperson works vigorously for the project. The BWSA collects P5 per faucet.

Water Analysis Laboratory, Maasin City. A water analysis laboratory was built in the provincial hospital complex. Before this laboratory was built, water analysis was done in a room in a provincial government building. The new laboratory was installed with the equipment procured under the Project.

EASTERN SAMAR Eastern Samar has a population of about 100,000 and 23 municipalities. The governor has transferred the responsibility of project implementation from the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) to the Provincial Engineering Office (PEO) to expedite project implementation. The governor considered that PEO could better handle procurement and construction supervision that were the main activities at this phase of project implementation. Barangay Nena, Campidham, and Libas, San Julian Municipality. This is another successful case of community water supply, servicing for a total of nearly 6,000 people in 3 barangays. The 3 barangays (Nena, Campidham, and Libas) share one spring source (about 4 km away from Barangay Nena), transmission lines, and a storage tank, and developed a water distribution system in each barangay.

Before developing this water supply system, the barangays had insufficient water supply and people had to transport water from as far as 9 km during the dry season. The municipal hall used to be located in Barangay Libas, but it had to be relocated to another barangay due to lack of water. Each of the 3 barangays formed a BWSA and the BWSAs further formed a "federated" BWSA to discuss and solve the issues common to them. The federated BWSA holds meetings every 3 months. Twenty percent (20%) of the BWSAs' revenue is spent for O&M of the common facilities including monthly disinfections of the facilities. These BWSAs have a plan to further expand the system to another neighboring barangay and upgrade the system to install individual connections for those who wish to install. Barangay Nena. This barangay has 20-30 communal faucets to serve about 500 households. Some households lead hoses to the communal faucets so that they can receive water through them. Ninety-five percent (95%) of the 500 households are members of the BWSA. The BWSA collects P50 for membership fee and P10/mo-HH. It keeps its accounting book very well. The BWSA is taking a leading role in the federated BWSA.

____________________________ *This article was first published online at ADB's Water for All website in July 2004: The Country Water Action series was developed to showcase reforms and good practices in the water sector undertaken by ADB’s member countries. It offers a mix of experience and insights from projects funded by ADB and those undertaken directly by civil society, local governments, the private sector, media, and the academe. The Country Water Actions are regularly featured in ADB’s Water for All News, which covers water sector developments in the Asia and Pacific region.

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