Philippine Project Notes:
Water Problems
By Tim Roach
Copyright 2007


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water.JPG - 22008 Bytes Water is something many people take for granted. We turn on the water spout and we have clean water to drink. We turn on the shower and there is hot and cold water. We flush the toilet and the waste is taken away and the water tank refills.

Here in the Philippines there is a lot of water unfortunately most of it is not even safe to take a bath in for there are parasites in it that can infect a person through the skin. Boiling helps for drinking but that is to expensive for many people. Plus it does not kill all of the parasites especially the eggs of several types.

Here things are a little different than in the USA. Many homes have no water and no safe water at all. Any safe water they have in their home must be carried, by hand, from some another location sometimes as far as a mile away (sometimes even more distant).

Where there are safe water spots we have been trying to expand the water access points to allow easier access for the people having to carry the water.

While most locations this has been welcomed with open arms. Our most recent location we have perhaps created a problem. Because so many people started coming to one location to get the water the local city water system says they could not handle the demand and has reduced the pressure in the line thus effectively shutting down the water line we paid for and are paying to have access to.

While we are talking to the city about the problem. I have been told different stories about the problem. From them not being able to generate the water pressure to the city well is low on water. However I have notice other people above us on the same water line have water however no one from our location on seems to be able to get any.

While there is the 'official' reason, I suspect the problem might have something to do with the fact that the normal access point charge for the water is somewhat higher than it needs to be to cover costs. While we did ask people getting water from us to help with our expenses for the water, the amount we asked was much lower than most of the other areas. Basically when we had water we just charged enough to cover the water bill we would get from the city. Thus anyone from our area that needed safe drinking water would stop here to get the water since it is closer to them and much less expensive.

I find it interesting that the city can handle the same demand (actually more demand) if the people go to their high price access point. However the water 'just can not make it' to a location that is more convenient for many of the same people that have to carry the water by hand from very far away.

To get and idea of what the people are going through, imagine having to carry by hand two five gallon buckets (about 40 liters) of water the length of five or six football fields every day just to get the water you need. (A liter of water weighs about 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds. Thus the weight most of these people carry every day the distance of 500 meters or more is about 40 kilograms or about 88 pounds. Just to get the water they need to survive.)

At some point I would like to drill a well and remove our line from the city’s water line unfortunately finding someone with drilling equipment is proving difficult and the cost is proving to be out of my price range. (Perhaps I am being overly paranoid, but I sometimes feel like because I am cutting into the profits of the people that are robbing the poor that the prices for me get greatly increased.)

While I want to use my own resourses for everything I do here. It is beginning to look like it will be more practical and less expensive to purchase my own well drilling equipment. Unfortunately the equipment do the drilling is also out of my price range.

While rain water tanks are an option. There are long periods of time where there is no rain here. The mountains seem to cause the rain to fall in other regions first thus this area does not get as much rain fall during parts of the year. This means in order to handle the amount of water needed the tanks would need to be very large. Thus cost prohibitive to most people. Or even for the ones that could afford the tanks or materials to build the tank there is no space to put the water tank(s) of the size needed on their land.

Having come to a point where I do not know what to do to resolve this problem of how to get people safe reliable reasonable access water sources. I am going to do what I hoped I would never need to do and ask for suggestions and help to resolve this problem.

Please feel free to email me with any ideas you might have.



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Page Last Updated: 3/9/2007 9:08:48 AM