Romblon’s farthest island municipality, whose residents rely on rainwater and deep wells as their water source, now has a solar-powered water pumping system with a filtration and treatment facility installed through a program led by Department of Science and Technology-MIMAROPA (DOST-MIMAROPA).
Concepcion, considered a Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Area (GIDA), is the farthest island municipality in the province with nine barangays which has been suffering from limited access to safe and adequate water.
With the installation of the solar-powered water system with filtration and treatment facility, continued access to clean and safe drinking water at any time of the day is guaranteed. A total of 74 households or about 400 residents not only from the community but even from the adjacent barangay can now benefit from the improved water source.
Moreover, the system’s water filtration and treatment facility greatly improve the quality of water. With the technology, the water’s metallic taste has been removed and its brininess has been reduced by 90 percent. Since it is solar-powered, it also helps the community manage their water needs in an environment-friendly way. The barangay local government unit (BLGU) maintains the technology and ensures that families can collect as much water as they need that is also assured clean and safe.
Formerly, the residents relied only on rainwater collected using basins and pails and deep wells powered by an electric pump as their water source, however, the operation is limited due to high electricity cost.
The solar energy system-powered water pump was provided to Brgy. Masadya, the poorest barangay in Concepcion, through the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) Program of DOST-MIMAROPA.
DOST-MIMAROPA reported that compared to other barangays, the residents in Masadya are only given two hours in the morning and another two in the afternoon to get the water their families’ lives depend on. Barangay officials were forced to limit the water collection hours to avoid incurring high electricity costs.
“Each family is required to pay P50 per 10 cubic meters of water per month and an additional P5 per extra 10 cubic meters for the use of the deep well to sustain its operations,” the agency said.
“On average, Barangay Masadya is paying P7,000 solely for electricity, which they admit can be utilized for other priority expenses for the community. The water quality that is sourced from the water pump is also salty and metallic in taste which poses many health risks to the residents,” it added.
When a household is not able to save enough water within the 4 hours allotment, they have to endure traveling to the next barangay with a water supply— Barangay Poblacion which is about 7 kilometers away. But now, with the newly-installed system, residents will gain access to clean and safe water anytime.
DOST-MIMAROPA also provided other interventions to guarantee the sustainability and reliability of their water supply including training on the operation and maintenance of the solar-powered water system with filtration and treatment facility, and provision of Ceramic Water Filters (CWF) to 50 households from other barangays.
“DOST-MIMAROPA recognizes the importance of water security to ensure sustainable rural development and resilience, especially in this time of battling against the COVID-19 pandemic where sanitation and hygiene serve as the primary defenses. Through the CEST Program, DOST-MIMAROPA harnesses technology as a springboard for further development in remote areas in the region,” the agency said.
CEST works to raise the living standards of disadvantaged and vulnerable communities by addressing pressing issues related but not limited to livelihood, health and nutrition, education, disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation, and environmental protection and conservation.