A coastal village with no water to drink

Clean water need not be scarce for residents of this coastal village that is named after a river and lies along the shores of a great gulf.

The irony is that, for years, they had no potable water nearby.

Fetching water was a daily struggle for residents of Ilog town, Negros Occidental. Ilog (or river), with 15 barangays and over 1,400 resident families, is located along the Ilog-Hilabangan river basin and lies along the shores of Panay Gulf. Fishing is the main source of livelihood for most residents.

“We had to pump water from a well in Crossing Bocana, half a kilometer from our house,” shared resident Mark Villavicencio. A vendor with a cart would go around Ilog’s villages, selling containers of water taken from a spring. Each container cost about three pesos. “So we had to limit our use, even for drinking water,” he said.

This changed in 2012 when the local cooperative initiated the plan to provide safe potable water to 1,200 households within five years. The Dancalan Ilog Waterworks and Agro-Industrial MultiPurpose Cooperative (DIWAGRIMPCO) partnered with PEF for the rehabilitation and expansion of its local water systems.

The project gained remarkable results. Three out of Ilog’s 15 barangays now have access to potable water, benefiting 485 families and households. Twenty-five members of the cooperative have also become micro-entrepreneurs, earning income by distributing water to households with no water on tap.

Today, the cooperative is realizing its dream of providing communities access to clean water. It also hopes to continue improving the standard of living for the families earning additional income from this community project.