WorldWater and Power Corporation
Completed in 2002, this project continues to supply clean drinking water supply to 200 households with household incomes of one to two dollars per day, in the municipality of Ronda in the Province of Cebu, Philippines using solar power as the only source of energy.This project developed and implemented by WorldWater (a publicly held company in the United States) was based on social, financial and technical sustainability, and was financed entirely by the private sector through loans from local commercial banks ? the first of its kind in the world. This project delivery model has been adopted as best practices by many international organizations including the World Bank.The project, designed with extensive community preparation and participation (particularly women) delivers water for a fee, using prepaid smart cards. The water fee, set by the community, was based on detailed surveys as to the project participants? willingness and affordability. People are now paying only a fraction of what they were paying for clean water (more than ten times their urban counterparts) prior to the project. The prepaid smart cards provided the bank the comfort to provide the loan for the project.
This project uses innovative solar technologies: it uses solar power as the energy source (requires no maintenance or operating costs); the balance of the system, particularly the pumps, are designed for ease of local maintenance, as demonstrated by operating success of the project. The project uses innovative prepaid smart cards, which helped mobilize private investments.In addition, the project demonstrates that community participation is essential to the financial and technical sustainability of the project.This project demonstrates for the first time that it is possible for a poor rural municipality in a developing country to directly access private financial markets for implementing basic infrastructure projects, just as their more-developed western counter parts do.
This project provides access to clean water, which is essential to human health and overall economic development. Provision of water is not possible without availability of energy. Solar power can provide clean energy, and therefore water, to hundreds of thousands of people in a more cost-effective way, more reliably, more quickly, and far more cleanly than can be done through conventional approaches.
This project has paved the way for public/private sector partnerships to become effective in accelerating the implementation of basic infrastructure projects in poor rural communities. This is made possible through the mobilization of private sector investments in areas where these investments would not have happened under normal circumstances. The old paradigm that has depended on central government planning process, bureaucratic international organizations, and NGO?s with limited overall expertise has failed to deliver clean water - or clean energy - despite billions of dollars of ?aid? funding. This project shows how something as basic as clean water - acquired with clean, solar energy - could be delivered in a large-scale using ?enlightened? collaboration between private sector, local government units, and private financial markets.
There is more energy embedded in the water that is consumed in a typical home (pretty much any where in the world) compared to energy consumed for other uses. The technology project financing models used in this project are now being used by WorldWater to power major municipal, industrial, and commercial water systems in the United States using solar power. As a result, the solar power technology is rapidly moving in to the mainstream.
This project has worked successfully for the past five years, and the lessons learned are being used in other projects. The demonstrates that when social, technical and financial aspects are properly addressed, there is a very high chance for overall success that can be replicated.
There about one billion people in the world who do not have access to clean drinking water and who can benefit from this successful demonstration of an integrated development project that combines innovative clean energy technology, community participation, and private sector investment.