Clean, Safe Drinking Water for Indigenous Communities
Planet Water Foundation deploys AquaSafe water filtration solutions in Quezon Province, Philippines
Indigenous peoples hold a special and sacred connection to the land they live on, including bodies of water. However, they suffer disproportionately from the impacts of climate change and water pollution.
The Dumagat Remontados Indigenous group
The Dumagat Remontados reside in a far-flung mountainous area in the Philippines and are among the indigenous groups who continue to struggle with clean water access. Without this precious resource, community members, especially young children, suffer from malnutrition, poor immune systems, and a greater risk of water-related illnesses.
“Clean water access has been a long-term problem and the condition worsened after the typhoon. Many of our students were hospitalized so their schooling was affected.”
– Taliza Cuagat, Elementary School Teacher
Each day, the Dumagat students wade across the fast-flowing Lumutan River to reach school. Some even trek perilous trails for over 45 minutes prior to river crossing. By the time they get to school, the children are tired and thirsty but there is no safe water to drink.
The poor water quality in the village was exacerbated when super typhoon Karding (international name Koru) made landfall in September 2022. The onslaught of the disaster resulted in a diarrhea outbreak that claimed seven lives and downed about 50 others.
Planet Water Foundation Intervention
Planet Water Foundation amplified its impact in marginalized communities by reaching out to the Dumagat Remontados indigenous group in Sta. Inez and Lumutan villages in November 2022. To reach Sta. Inez, the team rode a jeepney that crossed at least 7 rivers and rocky roads from the main highway. Then, it took a four-hour hike to reach Lumutan. It was laborious and exhausting to get to the sites. Nonetheless, the challenge was surpassed through the support of the residents who helped carry the tools, equipment and other materials.
“Despite the difficulty in accessibility and the far distance of our community, you are here to provide us help.”
– Jay-R Dela Torre, Lumutan Elementary School Teacher
Two AquaSafe water filtration solutions were installed in the villages’ primary schools. This clean water system makes non-potable piped water safe to drink by removing bacteria, protozoa, viruses, pathogens and other contaminants greater than 0.01 micron. Each system provides enough safe drinking water to meet the daily requirements of up to 1,000 people and includes integrated liquid soap dispensers, providing much needed handwashing facilities to the schools. The projects were deployed together with Planet Water’s Hygiene Education Program and the mobile AquaSan surface disinfection system.
“From the bottom of our hearts, the entire village is grateful to Planet Water Foundation. For the first time, our children have clean, safe drinking water.”
– Gilberto Naculanga, Sta. Inez Village Leader