Luzminda Fernandez, 63, a mother of four and a resident of Barangay Kantubaon, a remote community in one of the mountain barangays in Tabuelan town, now bathes her children, does her laundry, and prepares their food daily using water from a tap that was recently installed in her home.
Deprived from water all their lives, Luzminda is relieved like the rest of the residents of more than 10 mountain barangays in Tabuelan that they will no longer have to extract water from a banana plant.
Water from a banana plant can provide them one large tin container or 10-15 liters a day to sustain their daily needs. One container is only enough for drinking and cooking.
“Nagtubo naman gyud mi anang pagtipon ug tubig gikan sa puno-an sa saging. Mao naman gyud na among nabuhi-an gikan pa sa among mga ginikanan. Among banggagan ang puno-an sa saging dayon among butangan og kawayan ug sandayong (We grew up extracting water from banana trunks. This was what we have been used to doing, as our parents taught us to do. We place a hole on the tree through which a bamboo and funnel is connected),” Fernandez said.
The residents used to make a distant journey of four kilometers for more than an hour to a river spring in Barangay Bongon once a week to bathe and wash their clothes.
“Mangeskwela mi sa una, wa mi’y mga ligo kay ug gamiton namo ang tubig sa saging wala na mi’y tubig mainum. Makaligo gyud nuon mi sa isa ka semana kay mangadto man gyud mi sa tinubdan sa Gumbang. Karon swerte na karon ang mga bata, maligo na sila kada adlaw (Before, we go to school without taking a bath. If we use the water from the banana tree, we wouldn’t have any left for drinking. We would be able to take a bath once a week since we go to a spring in Gumbang. Today, our children take a bath everyday),” Fernandez said.
“Karon wala na mi maggamit sa tubig sa puno-an saging, makakaon na gyud mi ug bunga, kay di naman namo sunggaban (Now, we no longer use water from the plant. We will be able to eat their harvest in the future),” she added with a broad smile.
P3.5-million piping was all they need
For more than 1,600 households in the mountain barangays of Tabuelan, access to clean and potable water had a large impact on their lives, saving them both time and encouraging their true potential for living.
Due to water scarcity, economic development is lacking while people merely try to survive.
The town used to send a truck to bring water from the spring and distribute it to the families of the different barangays. But the truck cannot serve all the families every day. The truck would occasionally bog down due to long-distance travel and rough roads.
“Lahi na gyud karon nga naa nay tubig nga walay nay pawong-pawong. Sama karon, makapananom na mi ug lain-lain nga mga lagutmon ug mas daghan na mi ug oras sa pang-uma (It’s a different experience to have supply of flowing water. We can now plant more and spend more time for farming),” farmer Celso Duran said.
“The contractor used a 10-inch PVC pipe provided by the Capitol to connect the water source, Gumbang spring, to a reservoir located in Barangay Mabunao,” Mayor Rex Gerona said.
“However, when they tried to test the water flow, the pipes broke and leaked. Worse, the pipes were destroyed during the typhoon Yolanda,” Gerona added.
Gerona then sought the assistance of the Cebu Provincial Government for the purchase of 450 pieces of GI pipes needed to restore water supply.
In 2014, Governor Hilario P. Davide approved the P3.5 million worth of materials needed to restore the water system.
The water system is now fully operational.
The restoration includes the improvement of the 7.7 kilometer pipe from Gumbang Spring to the reservoir in Barangay Kanlim-aw.
The 90-cubic meter reservoir is 237 meters above sea level guaranteeing to serve more than 1,600 households of barangays Bongon, Kanlim-ao, Kanluhangon, Kantubaon, Dalid, Mabunao, Maravilla, Olivo, Poblacion, Tabunok, Tigbawan, and Villahermosa.
“Dako kaayo og tabang ug grasya gyud na kaayo namo diri sa among mga barangay. Nagpasalamat gyud mi kaayo ug dako kang Mayor Gerona ug kang Gov. Davide sa ilang dakong tabang bahin sa tubig (This project is a big help and a blessing for the residents of the barangays. We thank Mayor Gerona and Gov. Davide for their help in this water supply project),” Duran said. Heart Rizarri