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Top USAID official lauds ZCWD on Be Secured projects

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Joan Dulce, a top official of the United States Agency for International Development or USAID paid tribute to Zamboanga City Water District officials for the successful pursuit of several projects undertaken by USAID in the city on water security, sanitation and resiliency to climate change.

In a short address during last Sunday night’s (March 5, 2017) welcome dinner at a local hotel, Dulce said the aid agency was delighted by the turnout of several programs they have launched under the USAID Be Secure project.

She praised the high competency of the local water utility firm’s top officialdom in handling the projects they downloaded in Zamboanga City.

She also acknowledged the unrelenting support of the local water district’s board who offered their all-out effort by extending the manpower expertise and logistical support to the aid agency’s drive in establishing weather resilient water systems in key areas of the country.

While acknowledging the wind-up of the 4 year Be Secure program this year, Dulce said they were happy to have included Zamboanga in their list of priority areas, and rewarded by the success in project implementation here.

‘USAID commits to help cities like Zamboanga to evolve projects such as the Be Secure program, critical in these times where climate change becomes a critical concern in terms of water supply security.

On the other hand, Mona Greiser USAID Be Secure Program head, ZCWD will pioneer a program where it could become the scale model for others to emulate and adopt, thanks to a fruitful engagement the past two years.

Greiser’s group is principally responsible for guiding a team from ZCWD, in putting together the Water Demand Management tool kit, which it launched a day after providing a ready blueprint for everyone nationwide on how to deal with balancing increasing demand for potable water in the face of limited supply.

For her part, Be Secure project consultant, former DENR SecretaryEliseaGozun, said Be Secure worked in Zamboanga City because of the close partnership between the water firm’s management team and its board of directors, the local government unit through Mayor Ma. Isabel Climaco and the city council.

She said ZCWD to her mind stands out as one of the best if not the best managed water district nationwide.

These competency and cooperation at the higher echelon of management has made engagement with Be Secure much easier, the former top government bureaucrat disclosed.

For their part, Board Chairman Jose Vicente Atilano III and General Manager Leonardo Rey Vasquez were one in expressing deep gratitude to USAID Be Secure for choosing ZCWD as a working partner in projects these past few years.

The lessons learned and the friendship more than anything else is priceless as the two entities engaged in various projects in the past to better water services in the city.

Both Atilano and Vasquez said hope lingers on the partnership continues in the future even as the Be Secure program winds down in the country.

A sewer and septage system development, the construction of an impounding dam and the upgrade of a 20 million liter per day filtration plant are some of the projects the water firm hope to engage the aid agency in the near future.

The welcome dinner was attended by top officials of USAID Be Secure and the top management of ZCWD.(EdBaños – CREAS Chief ZCWD)




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