Too Much Water, No Water


Normal flooding reaches the second flood of the La Flora barangay hall.

Posted by ACCORD Incorporated on Sunday, March 8, 2015

There's too much water in Barangay La Flora, Talacogon. For three months every year, the whole barangay is under water. Deep flood water.
There is too much water and yet there is no clean water for drinking, cooking and for other household uses. The water flowing in the mighty Agusan River is full of disease-causing micro-organisms, as well as organic and inorganic contaminants such as fertilizers and pesticides from corporate farms, and cyanide and mercury used in mining.
Rain-collection is the main source of relatively clean water in La Flora. A jerrycan of water bought at the town center for two pesos is sold at 20 pesos in La Flora.
Following typhoon Washi (Sendong) in 2011, ACCORD, AADC and CARE Nederland, with support from European Commission distributed rainwater collectors in five barangays in Talacogon, including La Flora. The rainwater collectors are still very much in use today. Evidence of the appropriateness of the response then. And unfortunately, evidence likewise that lack of clean water is still a major problem for a community that is frequently visited by too much water.
Also in 2011, CARE Nederland, AADC and ACCORD started implementing the Partners for Resilience project in La Flora. Community members and local government units were trained on ecosystem-based and climate-smart disaster risk reduction. Contingency and risk reduction plans were subsequently developed. Contingency plans and early warning systems were tested for their effectiveness through drills. Small-scale mitigation activities that at the same time serve to strengthen livelihoods were also implemented.
La Flora has successfully demonstrated that with community and local authorities working together, resilience can be improved. Still, much more needs to be done about resilience-building. The Agusan River, in olden times the source of sustenance, now remains a main source of threat, bringing floods that are now more difficult to predict, and bringing poison from environmentally destructive activities being carried out throughout the huge Agusan River landscape.