Philippines—Safe Water

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2019-2024

Region: Asia and the Pacific

Country: Philippines

Solutions: Environment

Current water security challenges facing the Philippine archipelago include burgeoning populations, unsustainable land uses, and deficient wastewater services. At the center of the challenges is water—a steady, dependable supply is increasingly elusive in many parts of the country as flows oscillate between too much or too little. Unfortunately, such adversities will only increase in the face of climate change, which is expected to further exacerbate ecological imbalances as climate variability becomes the new normal.

The Safe Water activity provides Philippine local government units, water service providers, and watershed councils in target provinces with the information, incentives, and partnerships they require to identify and address barriers to a water-secure future—yielding life-saving gains in access to water supply and sanitation services for unserved and underserved households in the Philippines’ most water-stressed communities.

By applying a systems approach that strengthens linkages between upstream and downstream stakeholders in the Negros Occidental and Sarangani and Palawan Provinces, Safe Water works to: increase access to resilient water supply and sanitation services; improve sustainable management of water resources; and strengthen water sector governance.

The activity is expected to strengthen services for some 1.1 million Filipinos.

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Sample Activities

  • Improve the quality of, and access to, water supply and sanitation services by building the technical and managerial capacities of service providers, emphasizing the application of water data and information to design, operate, and maintain resilient natural and built assets.
  • Increase planning and coordination among local, regional, and watershed stakeholders.
  • Improve the resilience of upstream water supplies through integrated water resources management and reduce the volume of downstream demand by building a constituency of water-wise households and businesses.

Select Results

  • Helped 377,300 people to access safe water supply and household sanitation services.
  • Mobilized more than $73.7 million in funding for water supply and sanitation projects; and another $18.2 million for investments supporting sustainable landscapes.
  • Forged partnerships with public and private entities to support governance and utility reforms and sustainable livelihood activities for communities living in or around watersheds.
  • Replicated development of payment for ecosystem services in other municipalities and improved existing systems to generate more fees and better management of funds.
  • Piloted output-based aid and blended finance scheme for basic sanitation services of poor households.
  • Assisted the Puerto Princesa City Water District to commission its Water Supply Improvement Project Phase II, which developed bulk water sources from Montible and Lapu-Lapu rivers. Now fully operational, the project delivers water daily to 193,000 consumers, with ideal pressure and high-quality assurance at affordable prices.
  • Established a private sector partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines Foundation and the Negros Economic Development Foundation to expand watershed protection in Negros Occidental. The three-year project will implement agroforestry and watershed conservation activities to protect the province’s sources of fresh water.
  • Launched a professional course on water governance with the University of the Philippines Centre International de Formation des Autorités et Leaders. The course equips local government officials, employees, and water districts with a holistic framework to understand and address issues surrounding water sustainability.
  • Addressed flood-related water supply challenges in Brooke’s Point, Palawan, by elevating a well’s pump head and doubling its capacity. The initiative benefited 2,090 households and will ensure better access to clean water during flood events.
  • Supported watershed stakeholders in planting an estimated 43,037 seedlings of indigenous tree species in 57 hectares and 44,878 seedlings of fruit trees in 71 hectares of land in priority watersheds in Palawan, Sarangani, and Negros Occidental to restore damaged watersheds.


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