Below is a report describing the development and installation of a hydraulic ram pump system in the community of Herminal. It provides details about the community and the background of the project. While this project is not fully completed the community members are very pleased to have a steady source of water near Herminal.
Background: In 2006 the community of Herminal, through the Barangay, requested that the AIDFI (Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc.) conduct a survey for a water system for the community. The Barangay had heard that there was a possibility for AIDFI to pump up water to higher elevations without the use of electricity or fuel. A survey was carried out and the project was found feasible. This project was later on absorbed in a program through Green Empowerment. However, even with this partnership, there were still not enough funds to cover the full costs of the project. The director of the AIDFI tried to get some counterpart funds from the Municipality of Silay, but the talks between the director and the City Administration of Silay did not result in additional funds. Other projects in the Green Empowerment program were therefore prioritized and when the director of AIDFI went on to another organization, the negotiations were picked up again by another staff of AIDFI and the project was implemented.
Community: Herminal is a sugarcane plantation community that is located on the island of Negros in the Philippines. At the time of the first survey, the place was still a plantation. In 2008 the area was placed under the land reform program and the sugar workers were able to advantage of the land. The title is still common and needs to be subdivided. There are 78 households and one of the big problems is the supply of water. Previously, before the ram pump system, the people had to fetch water from an unprotected source some 300 meters away and 20 meters down into the ground. In dry season this source would dry up and the community members would have to fetch water from a source that was farther away. Their consumption was limited to an average of two containers per day because of the distance. For bathing and laundry the households would go to the river, which is about 1 kilometer away.
Survey: Herminal was re-surveyed on February 25, 2009 to be sure about the expected output of the source. AIDFI has experienced many sources where the output has diminished over time. From the survey a new design was made and the expected output (to be delivered by the ram pumps to the community) was calculated at 16.500 liters/day.
Design: The amount reserved for Herminal from the Green Empowerment budget was enough to cover the cost for the impounding, catchment, two ram pumps with drive pipe systems, delivery line and a 10.000 liters tank and 5 tapstands. At least water could be pumped to the reservoir, making water more easily available to the community.
Social Preparation: The organizer of AIDFI was assigned to have meetings with the community to form a water assocition, discuss counterparting and participation in terms of labor and local technicians. The organizer also spent a lot of time trying to deal with the Municipality. It was suggested that AIDFI should get itself accredited by the Municipality of Silay in order to be approved as a financial counterpart of the Municipality. Normally, in other Municipalities, this is not too hard, but in Silay they came up with all kinds of additional requests for papers. We sensed that it might take a long time to get a financial contribution so we decided to explain the financial limitation of AIDFI to the community and meanwhile complete the initial parts of construction, meaning installing the ram pumps to pump water up to the reservoir. This would also give us the chance to work on getting financial support from the Municipality in the meantime.
Implementation: A technical installation team from AIDFI worked for 28 days on the installation. The hardest part of the work as the impounding since the soil structure was made of limestone and hard clay. Besides the main source, three other small sources were tapped (protected by cement boxes and connected with HDPE (high density polyethylene pipes). As per plan the system built by AIDFI pumped the water up to the reservoir, leaving the distribution to the tapstands up to a future financial contribution by the City Government. On a rotation basis the people from the community helped in the construction. The water association arranged the schedule for this. The people were paid daily and a small portion of the budget for the local labor went to the association’s fund. This was 20 pesos (40 dollar cents) per day/worker. The system consists of three different springboxes, one big impounding structure and a catchment which is directly connected to the first ram pump of 1 ½” ram pump, followed by a second ram pump of the same size (which utilizes the waste water of the first), delivery pipes from different sized HDPE (each ram has its own delivery pipe) leading to the reservoir over a distance of 230 meters. Then there are five tapstands still to be connected.
Technical data: The flow of the combined sources is 105 liters/min. The first ram pump is 5.5 meters lower than the catchment and delivers around 6.6 liters/min to the 56 meters higher elevated reservoir. The second ram pump is 6 meters lower than the first and also pumps around 6.6 liters/min over a height of 62 meters. The total output is more or less 19.000liters/day and is more than expected. This provides around 240 liters/household/day. This is 200 liters more than before. The ram pumps still have to be fine-tuned and may even deliver more water. The fine-tuning can be done when the installation has gone through the whole curing period.
Impact: Despite the long wait between the first survey and the final installation, the community members have expressed their happiness about the project. Many plans were heard now the members have more water available. From the experience of AIDFI with other communities, we can expect healthier children with less diarrhea and skin diseases, more livestock (mostly pigs), vegetable production and even some aquaculture. Also, because people no longer have to make the long walk to the water source, people will have more time available for more productive activities.