Today is: Tue, May 21, 2013
USAID “Water Alliance Program” Brings Better Health to San Fernando Children
In celebration of World Water Day, the United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), inaugurated a septage treatment facility in San Fernando, La Union as part of its commitment to provide Filipinos with access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. On March 26, 2012, USAID Mission Director Gloria D. Steele, together with project partners Rotary International and the City Government of San Fernando opened the facility which aims to improve sanitation services by treating the waste from all the septic tanks in the city.
“Diarrhea is one of the leading causes of illness in the Philippines, killing more than 27 children under five each day and poor sanitation costs the Philippine economy more than PhP 78 billion each year,” Ms. Steele stressed. “The U.S. government is proud to be a partner in this project that will have tremendous benefits to San Fernando City’s economy, public health and the environment.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), improved sanitation and sewerage reduces the incidence of diarrhea by 32%.
The septage treatment facility is one of the five projects undertaken by USAID and Rotary International under the Water Alliance Program. USAID and Rotary International contributed an estimated PhP 12.3 million to cover both facility construction and technical assistance. The San Fernando city government allotted PhP 25 million for the purchase of the 1.2 hectare lot, paving the access road, fencing, and construction of deep wells and administration building. Congressman Victor Ortega of La Union (1st District) donated PhP 2 million to the project.
“San Fernando City’s citizens will benefit from a cleaner, healthier environment as a result of this city-wide system to desludge all the septic tanks every five years and properly treat the septage in this new facility,” Ms. Steele said. This is the second city-wide septage management program run by local government units in the Philippines; the first, which USAID also supported, was in Dumaguete City.
Ms. Steele added that the facility is an excellent demonstration of how partnerships between public and private sectors can yield positive results. “USAID’s collaboration with Rotary International and the City Government maximizes the impact and sustainability of USAID’s programs in the communities that we serve.”
USAID and San Fernando City have been strong partners in protecting the area’s environment. In addition to the septage facility, USAID also supported the construction of a sanitary landfill, the development and implementation of the city’s Solid Waste Management Program, and the construction of a wastewater treatment facility in its public market.
For 50 years, USAID has partnered with local, provincial and national governments, civil society and the private sector to improve natural resource management. USAID has enabled 1.2 million Filipinos to have improved access to clean water and sanitation since 2005 and protected and conserved over 1 million hectares of forest lands and coastal areas since 2004. USAID will continue to work with its development partners to help cultivate an environment that is healthier and more resilient to the impacts of global climate change.