We are The Pitak Project located in Tubao, La Union, Northern Philippines. We practice and promote sustainable and regenerative living through natural building and permaculture. We build our structures using natural materials on site such as clay soil, rice straw, river sand, river rocks and bamboo. Permaculture or permanent agriculture on the other hand is a design system for sustainable living that is pegged on three basic ethics: earth care, people care and sharing of surplus. It promotes diversity, stability, resilience and abundance by designing a landscape modelled after a natural ecosystem.
Raising Funds for What
We are raising funds for a solar powered deep well pump including the digging of the well, setting up of the storage and distribution system as part of our approach to a holistic permaculture farm management.
We are currently tapped from the community water system that is sourced from a mountain spring miles from our farm. It only runs for 4 hours a day. We store this spring water in a tank and use it for domestic needs. But for 5 months early last year, the water supply became scarce. It only came back when it started raining last May. And since last November up to this day, we don’t have water. This prompted us to look for a spring within our site. We dug a shallow open well and found water at six feet deep. We are now dependent on that well, for domestic use and for watering our kitchen gardens but it is located a bit far from our hut so we fetch our daily water requirement from that well.
Aside from rain, the small creek provides irrigation for our rice field through a connection of plastic pipes. But this supply is abundant only during the rainy season (July-October). This is also why we only do one cropping of rice a year because of the low flow of the creek. We use the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) on more than a thousand square meters of plot for our rice crop. This system uses less irrigation water.
To resolve our water situation, we’ve lined up several interventions. We’ve already set up a rainwater harvesting system and a gray water recycling system in our small hut. We’ve started to dig swales and a mini-dam. We’ve also made a ram pump to lift water from the big creek. And we’re still geared towards setting up water runoff catch basins through additional swales and ponds. A solar powered deep well pump will just be one intervention that we deemed necessary for us to have water supply during the dry season. This will make us more productive in terms of our food production the whole year round. The solar pump will also supply us water during our natural building activities during summer.
After much research, we’ve partnered with FREZITE for its efficient products and reliable service. After consultations and computations, we came up with water requirements for domestic, livestock and crops on the farm considering the community water source, our rainwater catchment capacity, our gray water recycling systems and the shallow open well on site.
What we Aim to Accomplish
The following are the objectives of the project:
1. To be self-reliant and independent in our water supply for our holistic farming management and natural building projects; and
2. To be a model farm in terms of water sourcing through the use of alternative and renewable energy.
The following are the expected results of the project:
1. To tap underground water within the site using a solar-powered pump;
2. To have a water storage and distribution system; and
3. To increase our farm’s crop yields for the ultimate goal of being self-reliant in food production.
Giving back is imperative! This project is most valuable to our immediate community by showing that small farms can thrive by using renewable energy aside from the other interventions we’ve done. We will be able to share our surplus by being productive the whole year round. This will also be a source of water of the community in the event of drought and disaster.
What we need:
Pump, installation, solar panels, shipping: US$6,685
Clearing of site, drilling of well: $4,555
Tank construction: $1,881
We hope you see how beneficial this would be in our long term holistic farm management. As they say “we need to be blue, before we can be green.” We don’t have a budget for this and we’d rather work harder and seek out help and support for our quest for water because we believe in collective action.
If we’re able to raise more than what we need for this particular project, the excess will be used to purchase a BOWA multi-function tilling machine ($3,192) which would be used as a seed tool to start a women’s cooperative.
Please visit our campaign site here.
Please support us and share this with your network . For more information email us at [email protected].
Thank you so much.
The Pitak Project Team
UPDATE (April 16, 2015): “Our Quest for Water” campaign was a huge success. We’re able to raise $14,211 (108%). Thank you for the gift of water.