Manila Water, One Meralco install solar-powered water system for Dumagat community
The “Light Up to WASHup! Beaming Forces for Good in the Ipo Watershed” project of Manila Water Foundation (MWF) and One Meralco Foundation (OMF) has been recently recognized as the Outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility Collaboration Project in the CSR Guild Awards 2023 of the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF).
In many parts of the country, access to fundamental services like water and power remains challenging due to geography, infrastructure, and lack of funding factors. Such is the case of a Dumagat community in the Ipo Watershed in Sitio Sapang Munti, Norzagaray, Bulacan. Millions of Metro Manila residents draw their drinking water from it, yet those who live near it thirst for better water access.
To address this, MWF and OMF joined forces in installing a water treatment and distribution system powered by solar to serve 122 families in the said community.
A big win for a “small” community
MWF started work with Sitio Sapang Munti in 2021 and the big, gaping need was the development of the water system infrastructure that needed to be energized. This came as OMF was looking for a pilot project for their Water Access Electrification Program, which supports the energy needs of water access programs in last-mile and off-grid communities.
For Sitio Sapang Munti, MWF put up a water treatment and distribution facility powered by a solar photovoltaic (PV) system installed by OMF. Since December 2022, the water system has supplied 32 cubic meters of reliable, clean water to families, supporting community health and productivity.
Through OMF’s Light Up Pilipinas program, solar headlamps were also distributed to 55 Bantay Gubat forest rangers to aid them as they patrol and protect the forest from illegal activities, especially at night. An additional 116 solar lamps were also distributed to households in the community.
This collaboration between MWF and OMF holds promise for off-grid communities where the Integrated WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) program and Electrification for Water Access shine the light of hope for isolated communities in the shadow of disadvantage.
Long-time Sitio Sapang Munti resident Maritess Cruz shared how this project impacts their lives.
“Nu’ng nakikita namin na may gumagawa na, parang napapalundag kami sa tuwa. Ito na ‘yung matagal naming inaasam. Nakakasigurado po kami na ‘yung dumadaloy na tubig ay malinis po, hindi lang po para sa amin, dahil siyempre kami matatanda na kami – para po sa mga anak-anak namin. Pakikinabangan po nila ito nang mahabang panahon,” she said.
(We were overjoyed when the construction of the water system started. We have been hoping for this. We are assured that water is clean, not only for us but especially for our children, who will benefit from this for the years to come.)
In his acceptance speech, MWF Executive Director Reginald Andal pointed out how the program brought much-needed service to the community.
“Ipo Dam provides water for 98% of Metro Manila and yet more than 120 households in Ipo Watershed do not have safe and clean water until this collaboration happened. They now have a 3-kilometer pipeline and 17 watering points. The families don’t need to walk for hours just to fetch clean water at the spring source. The time saved will be spent to care for the family and the children,” Andal said.