Tagbilaran, a city in the Philippines’ central region, is considered a gateway to popular tourist destinations with great potential to become an engine of inclusive economic growth. However, the city has struggled to develop an effective water delivery infrastructure, resulting in a limited potable water supply for its 100,000 residents and forcing the city to undergo water rationing. The local government has had difficulty coordinating its efforts to read water meters or issue and collect bills, while customers have frequently complained about miscalculated bills and refused to pay, resulting in mounting unpaid water bills.
To help address these issues, USAID partnered with the city, offering capacity building and training for TCWS staff as part of USAID’s Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) project. Since 2015, the five-year, $47 million project has been working with eight secondary cities throughout the Philippines to improve urban planning, increase local revenue generation, simplify administrative procedures, upgrade water and sanitation systems, and expand economic connectivity and access between urban and rural areas.