Solar powered water systems benefit villages

By Rhaydz B. Barcia


THE Ako Bicol (AKB) partylist has established the first solar powered potable water system in Bicol, which now provides clean drinking water to waterless residents in upland villages in Legazpi City in Albay.


The solar powered water system worth P9,987,270.69 is part of the P200 million project of AKB funded under the General Appropriations Act of 2020.


The AKB allotted the P200 million budget for waterless communities in Bicol after a news story written by this reporter showed the plight of residents in the communities of San Miguel and Cagraray Islands in 2019 where they spent hours using small motorized boats to get water in a far-flung areas.


Rep. Elizaldy S. Co of AKB said that they were able to proceed with the implementation of the water system projects after the national government finally released the budget.


He said the AKB constructed the solar powered water systems in the following areas: Barangay Imalnod worth P2.9 million; Banquerohan resettlement site costing P3.3 million; and Banquerohan High School worth P3.7 million. The total cost of the three water systems amounted to P9.9 million.


These water systems will provide clean and potable water to 969 families and over 2,000 students of upland barangays suffering from lack of clean water in Legazpi City.


“This is already part of the P200 million water system projects we promised in 2019 that we will provide water. This is supposed to be last year but was delayed as the budget was put on hold by the government due to pandemic. But after we were given a go signal, we proceeded with the water system projects. This is part of the 71 sites of solar powered water system facilities across the Bicol region,” Co told Bicol Mail.


According to DPWH data each water system is powered with eight solar panels with 405 watt and 360 total voltage that could operate from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.


It can generate at least 10,500 liters per second average production and can fill up the water tank for three to four hours. The facility has three stages of filtration systems that filters basic water quality issues to ensure safe and clean drinking water. The stored water from the tank can be used during night time.


Eresueda Perez Costillo, 81, president of Banquerohan Resettlement Area in Legazpi City since 1993, said the water system put up in their area is a great help as it will provide free and clean drinking water to the entire resettlement site covering 502 houses.


“Our usual problem here is water because of lack of sources but too many consumers. We are experiencing water shortage and we’re buying drinking water at P7 pesos per container. With this new source of power, we are grateful to Ako Bicol because our problem was resolved,” Costillo said.


Co said that water companies don’t want to put up water systems in the far-flung areas with fewer consumers as it is not generating money.


“Water is life. Even without food and power we will survive. But we cannot survive in a day without water. Water is vital for our survival specifically that we are in the middle of the pandemic. You don’t need to walk for a kilometer or so to get water because you have now purified clean water powered by solar,” Co said.


“My only plea is for you to take care and protect this project to last. The solar panel is good for 25 years. This is the first solar powered water system facility in Bicol specifically in Albay with three stages of filtration to ensure that it is safe. You now have mineral water. We will also replicate this in other provinces of Bicol,” Co said.


At least 71 more sites will be put across the region by AKB but the bulk will be put up in Albay and Camarines Sur.