Newsletter for the Rotary Club of Western Endeavour - Issue No.: 930 Issue Date: 27 Sep, 2020

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Villagers using water well during drought

Club supports improved water supply to two villages in Cambodia

The Rotary Club of Western Endeavour has been supporting water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs in Cambodia for the past three years. All activities have been located in the Provinces of Battambang or Pailin in the North West of the country where farming conditions are harsh and the rural population is particularly poor. Infrastructure in small rural villages in these Provinces is undeveloped with little electricity and no running water. Each household is responsible for accessing its own drinking water and family members often walk long distances to the closest water sources. This job is predominantly the responsibility of women and children who return to their houses carrying heavy buckets or bottles of water. At the end of the dry season, the water is not hygienic and requires boiling before consumption.

With a little support from national and international organizations, villagers have improved their access to water by capturing rainwater off the roofs of their houses and public buildings. This water can be stored in cheaply constructed concrete tanks and accessed as required. The NW of Cambodia receives over 1,300 mm or rainfall in a year, most of which falls over a seven month period spanning from May through to October allowing the reservoirs to remain productive for most of the year. Rotary has also supported the installation of communal toilets.

Drought conditions throughout Cambodia during 2018 and 2019 resulted in surface water drying up and farmers had to reduce the land area planted to rice. By the beginning of 2020, rural villagers were suffering from both food shortages and a lack of potable water. Residents of two villages in Battambang banded together and approached the Government to ask for assistance to drill to underground aquifers. Their request was referred to the Cambodia Family Support organization headed by Dr ENG Samnang ( CFS is a Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) supported organization managed through the Rotary Club of Perth (Project number WR 506-2008). RCWE funded A$2,500 which was sufficient to drill two shallow bores fitted with hand pumps. Both pumps require little maintenance. Bores were drilled in Lomphat Village, Oda Commune, Kamrieng District and Tasen Village, Trang Commune, Kamrieng District, Battambang. Sufficient clean water can now be hand pumped for the domestic needs of both villages.

All drilling work, concreting around the site and pump installation was done in March/April, 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak which severely restricted movement in the Province. The RCWE recognises the efforts of Dr Samnang and his team during this difficult period.

A full report prepared by Dr Samnang can be found in the public folders of this Newsletter. 

Author: Harry Nesbitt

Published: 17 May, 2020


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