Solar-Powered Water Pumping System in Brgy. Yook

Water is a fundamental right and its importance to the day-to-day lives of people is undeniable. However, in areas far from the mainland, getting clean and safe water at all is considered a blessing for most, especially in Brgy. Yook.

Brgy. Yook is an underprivileged community in the heart of the Philippines— Marinduque, which is home to more than 774 families or about 3681 individuals. Ranked fifth among the poorest areas in the province and beset with malnutrition prevalence of 21%, residents of the barangay, most especially children face many challenges in their daily lives.

Walk for water

One of the most important is surviving while setting out at dawn trekking on hours-long journey just to get water for cooking, bathing, cleaning, and other domestic purposes. In particular, two (2) sitios in the barangay— Gala-gala and Balikot, experience this for almost eight (8) months in a year.

Families have to endure a 1-km walk carrying jerrycans and basins large and small just to take a bath and wash their clothes in a water well located near the seashore. Those who can afford, pay PhP 5.00 for the transport of 20 liters of tap water from the well– approximately a total of PhP 1,080 per day or PhP 32,400 per month expense for the community.

During the four rainy season months, residents get water from a water pipe installed by the barangay for a PhP 20.00 fee used for maintenance of the piping system. And if not enough, they are forced to collect rainwater for domestic use.

“Sobrang hirap po ng buhay namin noon dahil parusa ang pagkuha ng tubig pangligo, panglaba, pangluto at pang painom sa mga alagang hayop (baka, kambing at baboy). Tuwing may pasok ang mga bata ay gumigising kami ng alas tres ng umaga para lang mag-igib ng tubig na magagamit nila. Napakahirap din ng daan sapagkat masukal at mabato ang aming daanan dahil nasa mataas na lugar ang aming bahay” said Adelaida Fidelino, resident of Sitio Gala-gala.

A water hole located 1-km away from residential area and near the seashore where residents get their water for daily use

Bringing water to the community

DOST-MIMAROPA continues to support the development of resilient communities in the region, including ensuring that underserved communities have access to clean and safe water.

Under its Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) Program, residents like Adelaida will no longer have to struggle getting water. DOST-MIMAROPA in partnership with Sangguniang Barangay of Yook and Local Government Unit of Buenavista constructed a grid-tied Solar-Powered Water Pumping System, bringing water supply more accessible to people’s homes.

The solar-powered water pumping system provided by DOST-MIMAROPA is made up of two (2) basic components— the photovoltaic solar panels and submersible pumps. The use of solar technology promotes the use of renewable energy to reduce costs and protect the environment. To complete the system, the local government provided water tanks and took care of the installation of the pipeline.

Water Water tanks (total of 8000 liters capacity) and pipeline provided by LGU-Buenavista and Sangguniang Barangay of Yook.

The effects of the technology flowed through 100 households or about 600 individuals in the barangay. It also allowed residents to save money and make time for more productive things such as education, livelihood, and spending time with the family. Moreover, an average savings of 241-288kWH or worth P2,169.00-P2,600.00 per month of electricity expenses was realized with the use of grid-tied solar energy system.

“Tuwang tuwa po kami at lubos na nagpapasalamat dahil sa naisakatuparan na ang matagal na naming pinapangarap na magkaron ng supply ng tubig sa lugar na ito” said Punong Barangay Gemma Perlas.

Residents while fetching water from solar powered water pumping system

To ensure that water from the system is safe from contaminants, DOST-MIMAROPA also tapped the Provincial and Municipal Health Office to conduct inspection and water testing. PHO provided recommendation to maintain the cleanliness and safety of the water for the community.

Provincial and Municipal Health Office staff while conducting inspection and water sampling.

Aside from the water pumping system for domestic purposes, a solar-powered water purification system was also established in the barangay in 2020 to provide an accessible drinking water source to the residents. Through the system, at least 30 containers (of 5 gallons each) of water is produced enough for the consumption of 30 households per day.