Cover Photo: SOURCE

A small community in Palawan has been provided with Hydropanels — the first of its kind.

The province of Palawan is known for its majestic mountains and vast bodies of water, ultimately making it a favourite destination for tourists to explore. In contrast to its tropical scenery, the main city consists of souvenir shops, gardens, and other establishments tourists might want to visit. However, just beyond the bustling city are smaller communities residing on elevated terrains.

During a global crisis, small communities living far from urbanised cities are one of the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, one of its communities, Binta't Karis, has little to no water resources. 

Considering that the community is situated around Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape, the highest point of Palawan, its water infrastructure is working against gravity. This makes it difficult to install water support similar to communities situated on lower terrains.

The residents would fetch water by foot from the river around the mountain. Saisi Pinlasan, a student from Binta't Karis Iskulat, shares that she would have to fetch water ahead of her classmates before coming to school. Sometimes, they would return home with buckets of murky water. For years the community has been deprived of a clean water source.

They are left with no other choice but to drink dirty water, consequently affecting their health and their daily lives. Dehydration and diarrhoea had plagued the community, and lives have been taken. But the adults, children, and infants were still left to depend on unclean water.

Binta't Karis was in dire need of clean, drinking water until recently, the SOURCE Hydropanels were installed.

In the hopes of reducing climate change and providing a clean water source for the tribal community of Palawono, SOURCE and Conservation International united for the third time to lodge 40 Hydropanels in the remote area. These will supposedly provide the indigenous community with enough water for the next fifteen years. 

The SOURCE Hydropanel is the first technology to produce water out of air. The fans embedded in the panel are powered by energy generated from the sun. Although the weather can affect the process, regardless, the panels will still be able to produce water. Once the fans "draw in ambient air", the water-absorbing material they call the hygroscopic traps and collects water vapour from the air which will later be condensed into a liquid. Then, the mineral is added to ensure the water produced is clean.

All the while, a committed team at the Network Operations Center will be perpetually monitoring both its quality and safety through the transmitters inside each Hydropanel.

One of its residents, Jose Simbudan, has grappled with water scarcity since childhood. "We have never experienced drinking this type of water," he shared in his vernacular.

Now, other residents like Jose and Saisi, can set aside their usual task of walking for miles to fetch a bucket of fresh water. “[It] will allow those who previously dedicated time to collecting water, predominantly mothers and teenagers, to focus on other activities that benefit themselves and their families.” Enrique Nunez, Country Executive Director of CI Philippines stated.

The Hydropanels will continue to produce 40,000 litres of freshwater to the whole community of Binta't Karis. It will serve the current and next generation of families living in the area of Mount Mantangalihan.

To know more about this initiative, visit:

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