Water for Low-income Communities (Tubig Para sa Barangay) Program

Exhibition: Cities | October 11, 2011 by

In the Philippines, over half of its citizens live on less than two dollars a day. In Manila, 90% have difficulty making ends meet. In 1997, only 26% had access to affordable and clean tap water; others were left to pay high prices to water vendors, queue for hours at public faucets and community wells, or tap illegal connections. Those in informal settlements were unable to apply for regular water connections because they lacked proof of land ownership.

Manila Water, a private utility, designed the innovative Tubig Para Sa Barangay service, which enables marginalized households to connect to a piped-in water supply. To accommodate the ill-defined streets and dense makeshift housing, an underground water pipe was brought to the settlement and connected to a cluster of meters. Inhabitants made their own connections and were given thirty-six months to pay a subsidized fee to cover the cost of their household’s pipes and individual meter. Water costs were one-fifth of what they paid before, and reduced contamination resulted in an 80% drop in diarrhea cases.

To ensure that the most marginalized could continue to afford water, Manila Water promoted health and sanitation programs and formed partnerships with community cooperatives to manufacture materials for the water supply. The water utility built strong partnerships, the “ka-sangga” (partner) system: the local government eased land-title requirements; community leaders assisted with connection applications and explained the project to other residents, who in turn protected the new infrastructure; and investors and lenders provided financial assistance for sustained delivery of this basic need.

Designers: Manila Water Company, with Manila-area informal settlement community. Metro East Zone, Manila, Philippines, 1998–present. High-density polyethylene and steel pipes, small- and large-diameter valves, brass and galvanized-iron fittings, bolts, nuts, bollards, board-ups, pumps, motors, water meters, generator sets


Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.