HISTORY OF SINILOAN WATER DISTRICT (SiWaDi)
Siniloan Water District (SIWADI) in Laguna is among the many water districts around the country that do not land in the pages of newspapers. If one was to put a face on Siniloan Water District and place it among a crowd, it would stand just like in a group of nameless Filipino faces that make this nation go forward. But its size has not prevented it from aspiring for growth.
Looking back at the early years, Siniloan has an existing water supply system constructed by Bureau of Public Works then turned over to the National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority, then to the Municipal Government of Siniloan. During that time, it has two pumping station but only one is operational, one small-capacity spring (Butadero) which was also tapped by the system. Majority of the consumers use the water from the system for washing purposes only due to its bad odor and poor water quality. Water for drinking was taken from shallow wells and free flowing wells. Many residents use booster pumps and jetmatic hand pumps tapped in the distribution lines. This causes negative pressure in the system, thus waste water enters the distribution lines thru leakages that result to poor water quality.
The need for an adequate and reliable water supply has been regarded by town officials as of foremost necessity to the people. Therefore, sustaining its existence has been given importance accordingly.
In 1988, Ms. Sonia Costelo, a LWUA personnel who is also a resident of Siniloan proposed and explained to the Siniloan local officials the benefits of establishing a water district in a municipality, as likewise provided for under PD 198. Hence, a public hearing was conducted by Sangguniang Bayan on April 29, 1988 at the Leonides de Leon Hall, Siniloan Elementary School for the purpose of determining the concensus of whether or not to form a water district. Result of the public hearing showed that the people favor for the formation of Siniloan Water District covering the whole Municipality of Siniloan.
On January 18, 1989, the Sangguniang Bayan of Siniloan under the leadership of Mayor Cenon C. Realeza passed Resolution No. 19, Series of 1989 forming the Siniloan Water District. This resolution was filed with the Local Water Utilities Administration and LWUA found out that the Water District met all the minimum requirements including the appointment of the five (5) Board of Directors representing the major sectors of the community, namely: Mr. Juan O. Javier, Mr. Jose M. Reyes, Engr. Isidoro V. Realeza, Mrs. Evelia V. Religioso and Atty. Esther R. Realeza representing the civic, education, professional, business and women sector, respectively. The board looked for a General Manager through advertisement but no one is interested. There being no applicant for the position of General Manager, LWUA advised one of the members of the Board in the person of Engr. Isidoro V. Realeza to resign as member of the Board of Directors and accept the position of the General Manager. Thereafter, Engr. Isidoro V. Realeza was appointed General Manager and Engr. Alden R. Mayor was appointed as his replacement in the Board. Completion of all the requirements including Certification Program were accomplished which eventually led to the issuance of the Conditional Certificate of Conformance (CCC) No. 395 on April 24, 1989. With its creation, the Siniloan Water District (SIWADI) took over the ownership and management of the waterworks system from the Municipal Government in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 198 (Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973). But success in managing a water district can never be attained without experiencing difficulties and failures. The District was confronted with strings of operational depression. When SIWADI took over the system, there was not much of a legacy to speak – no office, no staff, no funds, not even an old plumbing tool to start with. But there were plenty of rusted pipes, leakages, illegal connections and a population in need of a better service – reasons why the Water District cannot fully operate. Besides, the district plagued with problems like poor and unsafe water, insufficient water supply and breakdown of the pumping facility thus affecting the technical and financial operation of the District. Pressure was very low in most parts of the service area, especially in the extremities. Registered service connections which were turned over by the municipal government totaled 227 without water meter, all of which are billed flat rate (P35.00 per month). Consumers refused to pay their monthly water bill due to poor water service. Moreover, the General Manager is the only personnel of the Water District. SIWADI cannot afford to hire additional personnel due to its financial status. The Municipal Government gave P500.00 a month subsidy for twelve months or a total of P6,000.00 subsidy in one year time.
Because of the deteriorating service of the water system, a Program of Work (POW) was prepared for the immediate rehabilitation of the water system and improve its service to the consumers. LWUA approved the P2.6 Million Level III Loan on September 19, 1990. The amount was used in the construction of 2 pumping stations, disinfection facility, leak detection and repair, rehabilitation of Butadero Spring and reservoir, purchase of generator set, pump and motor, plumbing tools, office equipments and others. Upon completion of the project, SIWADI started its full operation on August 23, 1991.
The water system of Siniloan Water District was improved after the implementation of the Interim Improvement Project (IIP). The service area was expanded. From then on, SIWADI’s operation expanded continually with the construction and installation of additional facilities through additional loans of P3.821 Million in March 1997 from LWUA and through corporate-generated funds.
For the past 21 years, Siniloan Water District has achieved an increase in water service connections from 227 in 1989 to more than 4,598 connections at present. SIWADI now serves fourteen barangays of Siniloan and the construction project embodied in the Program of Work of annexing the Municipality of Famy is now finished. The implementation of this new water supply development in the municipality of Famy, Laguna made possible through P8.239 Million Level III Loan from LWUA in 2007.
Of course, all of its achievement could not have been possible without the generosity and benevolence of those individuals who helped during the Water District’s novice operation. The following will be embedded in SIWADI’s history:
1. Dynamic and hardworking Members of the Board of Directors who, for a long time, never collect per diem but have been responsive in formulating policies that assist and empower the management in running the affairs of the Water District;
2. The determined officials and employees of the Water District to sustain progress;
3. Volunteer individuals who helped in pulling out and installation of pump and motor during the testing of turned over well;
4. Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Laguna under the leadership of Gov. Joey D. Lina who provided P1,000,000.00 calamity aid in 1996;
5. Congressman Magdaleno Palacol who allocated P900,000.00 from his Country Wide Development Fund in 1997;
6. The unwavering support from Local Water Utilities Administration;
7. The support of local and provincial officials, civic groups, well-meaning citizens and loyal concessionaires;
On December 15, 2010, in view of Siniloan Water District’s satisfactory compliance with the provisions in the Manual for Categorization and Re-categorization, the request for upward classification from Small to Big Water District has been approved by Local Water utilities Administration.
In March 2012, upon LWUA evaluation using the two-stage process in connection with the categorization of Water Districts pursuant to DBM Circular Letter No. 2011-10 dated November 18, 2011 re: Revised Local Water District Manual on Categorization, Re-categorization and Other Related Matters (LWD-MaCRO), Siniloan Water District falls under Category C.
The vision, the dream, the expectation to provide dependable and satisfactory service and deliver safe and potable water continues with steady steps and assured footings for success.