Despite being bordered by bodies of water, Barangays Bani and Taltal in Masinloc, Zambales still struggle to have access to safe water. Yellowish, rusty and dirty were the words they used to describe the water drawn from water pumps which threaten their overall health and hygiene. Acquiring safer water is also costly and time-consuming since they have to travel by tricycle to get water.
It has always been a dream for these communities to have ready, accessible and safe water. To make this a reality, AES Philippines Power Foundation in partnership with Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation, Inc., together with the different people’s organization and barangay local government units (BLGU) in these areas worked for months to bring safe water to their communities.
May 30, 2017 marked the turn over of the level II water system to Barangays Bani and Taltal. Present at the event were representatives from different stakeholders of the project who signed the memorandum of agreement; BANCWA Chairperson Olive Gregorio, TATURE Chairperson Ferdinand Malapit, AES Philippines Power Foundation President & Executive Director Cynthia Pantoñal, and JVOFI Executive Director Maria Rosario R. Lopez. The signing was witnessed by Bani Punong Barangay Efren Edillor, Taltal Punong Barangay Rodel Elamparo, Mayor Arsenia Lim of Masinloc, Zambales, AES Plant Manager Arsaf Mansha, AES Expansion Project Director Don Gray.
Barangays Bani and Taltal, host communities of AES Philippines, now have access to safe water.
From the Lauis River, which serves as their water source, the water is pumped to the treatment facility. The water then goes into the sedimentation tank where solid elements in the water are allowed to settle. The water then goes through three stages of filtration tanks: first is the silica tank; second is the activated carbon tank, where smell and color of water are removed; then last filtration tank is the ionizer where the water is disinfected. From the treatment facility, a 1-kilometer water pipe travels to the ferrocement (FC) tank where water is stored. From the FC tank, pipes are connected to the taps installed in strategic areas in Bani and Taltal for everyone’s access.
A second FC tank is to be constructed as soon as another lot is identified for it. At a discharge of 100 gallons per minute, the current FC tank can cater to 1,000 households. The community water associations have undergone training to manage the water system and connect the individual households to the main distribution line.
Although access to water is now within their reach, the communities were reminded to take care of their water and their water source. This is not a one-man’s job and everyone is mandated to ensure that the water is available and sustainable even for the next generations.
In her message, Mayor Senyang Lim reminded her constituents to manage the water system with transparency and accountability to ensure the sustainability of the project.