Project SunStream: Securing San Pedro's Water Future

Discover how Project SunStream is transforming Barangay San Pedro by establishing a Barangay Waterworks and Sanitation Association (BWSA) to create a sustainable water supply system and enhance the community's quality of life.

The community of Barangay San Pedro in Iriga, Camarines Sur, is facing significant challenges related to the availability of resources and infrastructure for a reliable water supply. Located in the upland mountainous areas of Iriga, San Pedro is a barangay experiencing the consequences of the absence of a consistent potable water supply and an adequate water distribution system. These issues have far-reaching implications, impacting the health and sanitation, livelihoods, education, quality of life, and overall development of the community. While there have been some initiatives to establish a water distribution system connected to a tank and pump, the current infrastructure, comprising mismatched PVC pipes and equipment, is struggling to meet the demands of the community. Furthermore, the operation and maintenance of the system are placing a strain on the barangay's financial resources and manpower.

Project SunStream aims to help Barangay San Pedro establish a sustainable, community-driven water supply system by forming the Barangay Waterworks and Sanitation Association (BWSA). SunStream aims to achieve this through:

  1. Policy and Resource Consultations - Coordinating with the Barangay Officials and BWSA expert(s) to craft the necessary policies and resources needed for the creation of BWSA.
  2. Capacity Building - Training of the leaders that will implement and manage the BWSA together with key representatives from various sectors of the community that will help in cascading the information to their constituents.
  3. Community Collaboration - Educating and involving the community in the turnover of BWSA from the Barangay to the first set of BWSA leaders.

As the team progressed through the REBOOT program and continued to collaborate with our partner organization, Camarines Sur III Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CASURECO), our focus shifted from advocating for renewable energy to emphasizing policy-based and community-centered solutions. It became clear that the community of Barangay San Pedro has the potential to meet its supply and material needs, but this potential is hindered by the lack of a reliable water distribution system, an urgent issue that needed immediate attention. Establishing a Barangay Waterworks and Sanitation Association (BWSA) is crucial to addressing this issue before pursuing renewable energy solutions, as ensuring reliable access to clean and well-maintained water facilities is fundamental for community health and sustainability, providing a stable foundation for successful renewable energy projects.


Team CamSur's REBOOT Journey



Key Takeaways

The journey was a rollercoaster ride. From changes to the community to be visited to changes in the objectives and goals of the project, we saw that while the problems are simple, solutions and the way forward might not be as straightforward as they seem. Throughout our journey, we have had a couple of takeaways:

  1. There is a severe lack of searchable data on smaller and rural barangays in the Philippines. This made it harder for the group to garner historical data on the chosen barangays. However, stories Stories from the field served as a rich and detailed source of the context and conditions of the barangays. 
  2. The context of the community is a combination of the numbers and figures and the stories of the people living in them. While the figures and the initial ideas that we had led us to believe that there is a problem with power and electricity, the extensive consultations with from the community led us to another issue, which is water supply, which actually affects a bigger part of their daily lives.
  3. Government bodies play a key role in the success of a solution. They may inhibit or allow solutions based on many factors, including history, power, politics, cost, economics, practicality, and more.
  4. Sustainable solutions require legislation and policies that will support them. No solution can sustain itself without a strong policy to protect it from being disregarded. Moreover, legislation and policy must be supported by all the branches of the government for them to fully succeed.
  5. Solutions must always be collaborative and consultative in nature. A community is not a group to be rescued, but a group to be enabled and empowered. Our experience with Barangay San Pedro led us to the realization that they already have all the things they need in order to move forward and address their problems. What we needed to do was only help them to realize the gravity of their community issue, provide networks and the knowledge that we have, and be an open and compassionate ear. 
  6. Social issues affecting the basic necessities of a community such as water serves as a glass ceiling for them to reach full development. Solutions should always be holistic and needs-based fit to the needs of the community. There should be a prioritization of community issues and solutions. By resolving their water issue, the community is given more opportunities to engage in the problem-solving of other problems in the community much more related to energy and the Just Energy Transition.

The Renewable Energy Bootcamp (REBOOT) Program

Project SunStream is one of the outputs from Batch 4 of REBOOT, a comprehensive training initiative designed to equip participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate and impact the energy sector. It comprises three core components:

  • Workshop Clusters: Participants undergo six four-day workshops spread over twelve months, covering a range of topics from renewable energy technologies to socioeconomic analysis.
  • Community Immersions: Trainees live within partner communities to experience and understand local social realities firsthand, fostering deep community engagement and empathy.
  • Project Development: Trainees collaborate with partner development organizations to design and implement community-based energy transition projects.

Registration for the REBOOT Program is currently ongoing and ends on Friday, 31 May 2024.
Learn more about the program, how to join, and send in your application now!


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