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Water for My Life: “Saving Rp290,000 Every Month”

“Water is precious for my family because we earn a living from selling meatball soup and we need the water to cook it,“ said Suprapto while preparing the meatball soup.

Suprapto (53 years old) is a resident of RT 003/RW05 in Margahayu urban village in Bekasi city, West Java. The man, who originally from Pekalongan, Central Java, has lived in Margahayu urban village with his family since 20 years ago. Since the first time Suprapto lived at his house, he has been through a lot of think and thin, not only when earning income for the family but also when accessing water for daily needs.

Although Suprapto has a bore well at home, the water is not consumable as it has brownish yellow color and smells mud. Suprapto’s bathtub and bathroom floor are rusty because of the water. When the bore well water is used to wash white school uniforms, the clothes will look dull. Thus, Suprapto’s family had to use bleach to keep the uniforms white.

For drinking, cooking, and washing vegetables, Suprapto’s family used refill drinking water. Every day, Suprapto needed 3 gallons of refill water for all family’s needs including cooking the meatball soup. Every month, Suprapto had to spend Rp450,000 for water. This expense is too much for Suprapto who has six children and all of them are at school age.

In the end of 2017, Suprapto’s wife participated in a socialization on SPAM Komunal construction plan held by KOTAKU (City without Slums) program of the Ministry of Public Works and Housing (MPWH). She attended the event because she wanted to get solutions to the water issues in her family.

Through the socialization, Suprapto’s wife learned about KOTAKU’s plan to build one unit of SPAM Komunal with capacity of 50 houses at RT003/RW05 in Margahayu urban village using the 2017 APBN (National Budget and Revenue). She also learned about the SPAM Komunal operation and the users’ rights and responsibilities, which include paying water and having water meter to measure how much water they consume.

USAID IUWASH PLUS supported KOTAKU’s SPAM Komunal construction plan by establishing the Community-Based Organization (CBO) to maintain the SPAM Komunal. The program also trained them on the SPAM Komunal operation and maintenance, calculation of water tariff per meter cubic, and financial management.

The SPAM Komunal construction in RT003/RW05 in Margahayu urban village was completed in December 2017. As of March 2019, 38 houses in this area are connected to the SPAM Komunal. One of them is Suprapto’s house.

Since using water from the SPAM Komunal, Suprapto event closes his bore well and uses water from the SPAM Komunal for all his family’s needs because it has better quality than his bore well water. The SPAM Komunal water does not have smell and color. With SPAM Komunal, Suprapto spends less for water. He only pays Rp160,000 and water is accessible 24 hours.

“I am so happy that I do not need to use bleach to wash my children’s uniforms. I use detergent only. More importantly, we can save money amounting to Rp290,000 every month,” said Suprapto’s wife with her big smile while showing her children’s white uniforms.

“Selling meatball soup is now cheaper. Water from the SPAM Komunal has become part of our life. It helps us reduce our expenses for water so that we can use the money for the children’s education,” said Suprapto enthusiastically.

Suprapto and other SPAM Komunal users in RT003/RW05, Margahayu urban village are ready to keep the SPAM Komunal functioning well as well as to encourage more people to connect their houses to the SPAM Komunal.

-Siti Ngaisah (Contributor/the First Winner of Photo and Story Competition for the 2019 World Water Day)-

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