"Where water flows, life grows."
In the province of Cebu, people in one barangay found they did not have to walk on water to turn a crisis into an opportunity.The waterworks system used to be a drain in the resources of Barangay Tabok, Mandaue City. People in the barangay did not have potable water after one of its two deep wells, Taruwas I, bogged down in 1993 after 13 years in operation. The acute water shortage lasted for more than two years and severely disrupted the lives of the barangay's 7,000 residents. "People like myself had to line up everyday for water. We were vulnerable to sickness," says barangay captain Emilio Rosal. "It was a very big problem." This was the scenario until the people in the barangay decided to get their acts together. They formed a non-stock, non-profit corporation called the Tabok Rural Waterworks System Inc. (TARUWAS) to manage the waterworks system of the barangay.
TARUWAS is run like a private enterprise that follows systems and practices such as holding monthly board meetings, daily collections, and monthly internal audits that allow the review of monthly collection and records, system meter reading and billing. At the helm of the new corporation is the barangay chairman who serves as chief executive officer. The barangay council and various sectors in the community are also represented. The corporation's goals include: providing safe potable water for domestic use at a lower cost; adhering to the promotion of better water conservation; minimizing utilization by centralizing waterworks; maintaining a waterworks system that is environment-friendly; and providing easy monitoring of water quality. The newly formed corporation entered into an agreement with the barangay council to adopt a socialized waterpricing scheme. Those who consume more subsidize those who consume less. TARUWAS charges a minimum of P5 per cubic meter, one of the cheapest in Mandaue City.