ILOILO – The remote island of Baliguian in the northern municipality of Concepcion is waterless no more. A desalination machine there has started operating.
Now about 980 residents of Baliguian, a sitio (hamlet) of Barangay Malangabang, have access to safe drinking water, said Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr.
They no longer have to travel for two hours to Cadiz City, Negros Occidental or to the town proper of Concepcion to buy water.
In an hour, the desalination machine can convert 360 liters or 18 gallons of saltwater into purified drinking water, according to Engr. Rene Margarico of the Provincial Engineer’s Office.
“Access to drinking water was always a problem. Now the problem is solved,” said Barangay Captain Mario Bagaforo of Mangalabang.
The desalination machine costing P3.5 million started operating on April 28.
Water is so precious in the island that residents have to keep it inside their aparador (closets), revealed Bagaforo.
Sometimes, those who could not afford to buy drinking water climbed coconut trees to drink coco water, he added.
Barangay Health Worker Jane Juanito, on the other hand, said the desalination machine would reduce health risks associated with the consumption of unclean water.
The desalination machine was procured by the provincial government under its Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program.
“This is a very expensive program but the cost is negligible compared to the benefits it gives to the people,” said Defensor./PN