Malekah was grateful that her house was located only 10 meters away from the public toilet, so she can stand in line earlier than others to use the water for bathing and washing at one of the public toilet compounds.
"After washing clothes, we also take a bath. Even with men around, we just cover ourselves with a bath cloth. This is normal around here, "she said. Every morning and every evening, Malekah carried 2 buckets for more than an hour to fetch cooking and drinking water.
Sumiyati and her husband rode their motorcycle approximately 4 kilometers to the river to collect drinking and cooking water. Without their motorcycle, collecting water would be an even greater challenge.
Meanwhile, Sungkono, whose house is located closer to the river, did not have to bother with the long distance but he still had to share the resources with his other neighbors. When the river water turns muddy during the drought, he too would have to look for water too. Even with the river in close proximity, the water was always brown and murky. Sungkono and Sumiyati both said they would often suffer from itchy skin, but decided to ignore it.
But now, with the piped water provided by PDAM Batang, the lives of most citizens in the Mount Tumpeng hamlet has changed for the better. PDAM Batang helped facilitate low cost financing for a pipeline connection directly to their homes through its WaterConnect program. This cooperative program of PDAM Batang and Water.org ensures citizens like Sumiyati, Sungkono and Malekah, who are mostly working as laborers and small farmers and earn low-income, gain access support to clean water.
"This program is very helpful for PDAM Batang to help people who need clean water. It is not cheap to connect pipelines into challenging geographic areas like Mount Tumpeng,” explains Director of PDAM Batang, Yulianto.
Through WaterConnect program, PDAM provides affordable loans to get access to clean water through a pipeline network managed by PDAM Batang. Residents can take loan facility up to IDR 600,000 for six months and 0% interest repayment term. Monthly payments are IDR 100,000 per month, which includes principal and interest.
With more household water connections, less people have to trek to collect water. Malekah can produce more crackers than before. She even could allocate the budget that she usually spent to get the water to other more important needs. Sumiyati and Sungkono does not feel itchy anymore, because now they can have clean water flowing directly into their house.