Water Stations in the Philippines

Bottled water has become very popular in the Philippines. Piped water systems are not available in certain areas, and residents are concerned about biological contamination, disinfection by-products from the chlorination process, taste, and odor in others.

Even in the capital, Manila, only roughly three-quarters of the population has access to municipally provided piped water. Outside of Manila, even fewer people have access to safe drinking water. If they are to prevent cholera outbreaks and other health concerns caused by the filthy, polluted water accessible in their areas, these families must locate alternative water sources in both places.

The hundreds of water replenishment stations that now dot the Philippine countryside have provided a solution. These stores originated as privately managed community sources where customers could bring their own containers and fill them for a per-gallon fee that was a fraction of the price of commercially bottled water. Because of the high demand, most establishments now provide regular clients with home delivery.

The average store produces 3,000 to 12,000 gallons of water every day. The water is usually supplied through the pipes of municipal concessionaires. Entrepreneurs invest in treatment equipment and purify their products even more before selling them.

Other stores are likely to be supplied by unlicensed or illegal deep well excavations. The expansion of these private sources might have negative consequences for groundwater supplies, perhaps contaminating them.

Private water shops have been recognized by the government as a crucial weapon in the battle against waterborne sickness, and the government oversees their quality control techniques and final product to the greatest extent feasible. Given the vast number of stores, however, it is impossible to keep track of the entire industry.

While many people in the Philippines benefit from the presence of water shops, the system fails to address the long-term water distribution and sanitation infrastructure upgrades required to provide safe drinking water to all.