USAID designed the Safe Water (SW) project to assist the Philippine Government to sustain gains made in the water supply and sanitation (WSS) sector, address sector gaps, capitalize on the efforts of predecessor water and sanitation-related projects, and expand the scope to include resource management for sustainability of water supply—in terms of both quantity and quality.

Safe Water aims to improve water security for water-stressed communities in the Philippines. Improved water security entails increased access by underserved or unserved communities to safe water supply and sanitation (WSS) services and more sustainable management of water resources to meet human, economic, and ecosystem needs. Safe Water’s objectives, expressed as IRs, are as follows: 1) increased and improved access to resilient WSS services, 2) improved sustainable management of water resources, and 3) strengthened water sector governance. Safe Water uses an integrated approach that emphasizes technical assistance and capacity building for greater sustainability.

The evaluation found that SW’s approaches and interventions are relevant and closely aligned with the Philippine Government’s policy priorities and the needs of water sector stakeholders.

While COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown had a significant, negative impact on SW’s effectiveness in years 1 and 2, by the end of Year 3, the implementing partner had made substantial progress towards achieving its objectives and is likely to meet most if not all of its targets. SW has adopted international best practices in water sector planning and in management of watersheds. Some of the interventions in water sector financing and sustainable livelihoods are yet to show significant results and may need adjustments to achieve program objectives. Stakeholders give high ratings on the relevance, effectiveness and sustainability of most SW interventions. Overall, SW’s approach based on stakeholder participation and engagement in evidence-based planning and resource allocation has created a solid base for the long-term sustainability of the main initiatives for improvement of water and sanitation services and water resource management.