Philippines - Inauguration of the Pro-people Project in Toledo


Toledo City Water District (TCWD), in partnership with VEI through the Performance Enhancement Water Utilities Philippines (PEWUP), formally inaugurated the ‘Pro-people Water Supply Project’ that was held at the Barangay Santo Niño Covered Court in Toledo City last July 30, 2021. The inauguration was graced by the City Mayor along with the City council, PEWUP staff, TCWD Board of Directors, Barangay council representatives of the recipient barangays and School representatives. 
One of the objectives of the partnership is to give access to water to the less privileged of Toledo where the first phase of the project identified the North Section of Toledo City where 9,320 people from Barangays Dumlog, Talavera, Calong-calong, Matab-ang, and Santo Niño benefitted from the project. The less privileged families rely on springs and dug wells for drinking and domestic use. Some households buy water from water peddlers, which is more expensive than the minimum monthly charge of Php 156.00 (€ 2.60) for 10 m³ consumption. The families longed for water from TCWD right at their homes and to enjoy the Poverty Reduction Program of the city government where the minimum monthly charge is being subsidized. On the other hand, diarrheal cases remain as one of the leading causes for hospital admission at the Toledo City General Hospital through the years that can be attributed to contaminated water.

Aside from the households, 5 public elementary schools, namely: Dumlog Elementary School, Talavera Elementary School, Calong-calong Elementary School, Matab-ang Elementary School and Mainggit Elementary School, were also identified for the project. Problems of insufficient water throughout the school vicinity are experienced. In particular, classrooms, toilets, and washlets have limited to no water service. The schools do have the rainwater tank program, however, water collected is not enough especially during the dry season. The schools resolve to purchase drinking water from private vendors, close some comfort rooms that can’t be reached by water, or request students to fetch water from unreliable water sources. The situation hinders the students to practice WASH and enjoy the use of water for school activities.
Recognizing this situation, a strategy was crafted so people will have access to water. The regular connection fee for a residential connection is Php 3,800 (€ 63.33). The initial cost entailed is the main reason for the indigent family not to be connected with TCWD as these families cannot afford it. Through the Pro-people Project, the indigent beneficiary will be connected under a promo program wherein Php 2,600.00 (€ 43.33), which includes the water meter and fittings under the service connection fee is subsidized. Pipes including sand bedding, materials for water meter clustering, and after-the-meter materials are also subsidized. The beneficiary is only required to counterpart Php 1,200.00 (€ 20.00), payable in one (1) year at Php 100.00 (€ 1.67) monthly amortization.  

For the schools, the existing distribution pipes were all upgraded with the appropriate HDPE pipe size, which allows water to reach the entire vicinity of the school. As Calong-calong Elementary School is particularly elevated, a cistern or sump tank, water pump and steel tank were installed to reach the elevated school buildings and thus, provide water constantly. Washlets were either built or repaired to serve well the student population. TCWD will also assist the school administrators in designing a distribution pipe network especially when a new infrastructure like a school building or comfort room would be built. DepEd allots an annual budget to the schools for water bills. Thus, payments to TCWD for water consumption are already sustained. 
With the funding of VEI, 4.96 km distribution line has been laid. On the other hand, an additional 25 hp submersible pump with control is installed to sustain the future water demand aside from the beneficiaries of this project. Prior, there are only two 25 hp submersible pumps at Mainggit Pump Station with an average flow rate of 19 lps each. The spring box has been improved along with the installation of the chlorinator set. For sufficient water from Mainggit Spring to reach Barangays Calong-calong, Talavera and Dumlog, a booster pump with a VFD controller and an 8 lps flow rate capacity has been installed at Sitio Canjuntic, Barangay Calong-calong. 
The Pro-people project becomes instrumental in the fight against the pandemic as WASH is promoted at home and in the school. Water plays a big role in their day-to-day activities. The beneficiaries represented by both the barangay council and school representatives expressed their gratitude as they are witnesses of how water is much needed in their respective barangays. 

Picture 1: Engr Ralph Abella of TCWD and April Raine Lavides of PEWUP inspected the compelted project in Matab-ang Elementary School. Students have functional washlets.

Picture 2: The City Council of Toledo headed by the Mayor Joie Perales, PEWUP Project Manager Carl Kamstra, and TCWD Board of Directors headed by Engr. Oscar Reyes and TCWD General Manager Edgardo Nicolas led the symbolic Opening of Faucet to highlight the inauguration of the Pro-people Project.