Clean water for all!

Why does this project exist? To have only dirty pond water or arsenic-containing well water available in the worst dry season, to see people suffering from typhoid fever who have no money for medical expenses - that made me initiate this project. Having to travel 12km by motorbike for drinking water made me feel the water problem first hand. Blood poisoning increased my desire to support these people. Then, at the doctor's office, I saw a huge cement rainwater reservoir that stores water from one rainy season to the next. Spurred on by this, I gathered more information and ended up with the Rainwater Cambodia organisation. I was able to realise the construction of the first rainwater set with the money from three days of filming for the movie Le Grand Empire du Tigre, which I earned in Phnom Penh as a "Little Movie Star". The plan to provide all families in the village of Tropeangs Dock with a rainwater set within 3 years was a success with the help of the Vienna Development Aid Club, the support of my colleagues at BRG X Ettenreichgasse Vienna and Sorya. Thus, Cambodia's very first rainwater village exists since 2008!

Dorothea Schaffernicht, Vienna

An initiative of Sorya's volunteer


The rainwater village

The first tank has a capacity of 5000 litres and has been at our school since 2005. During the dry season, especially in Takeo province, there are frequent illnesses of the stomach and intestinal tract due to the great water shortage. People get diarrhoea, typhoid fever or even ulcers in the digestive area. There are three wells in the village, but their water contains more or less arsenic or has a high lime content. The arsenic dormant in the sediment is chemically transformed, especially in oxygen-poor soils, and thus gets into the groundwater. The whole of Southeast Asia is affected by this. There are also three ponds that collect rainwater. However, the water is not of good quality (e.g. bacteria, algae), especially from the beginning to the end of the dry season.

For this reason, the group "The Rainwater Village" and consequently the project "Clean Water for All" came into being. The goal of the first project stage, to install a rainwater container for each of the 115 families of Tropeang Sdock village by 2008, has been achieved with great success.

The villagers of Tropeang Sdock have not only gained clean water with the water tanks. The following effects can be observed:

• The villagers suffer significantly less from diseases. As a result, doctor's treatments are needed less often. This is very important because most people have no money at all to go to the doctor.

• They also no longer have to carry drinking water to their homes because the tanks are installed right next to their houses. Thus, they have more time for other activities (e.g. extra income).

• People have understood the connection between health and water quality through personal experience. Accordingly, they treat this resource with care.

• Local labour is needed to build the tanks, thus enabling off-farm earning opportunities.

• The hired farmers who pour the cement rings and build the tanks have gained knowledge and experience for off-farm activities.

• The groundwater level is conserved because much less water is drawn from the wells.Durch Schulungen in Bezug auf die Themen Hygiene und Tankreinigung ist eine solide Basis für eine langanhaltende Nutzung der Tanks gelegt worden.

• A solid basis for long-term use of the tanks has been laid through training courses on the topics of hygiene and tank cleaning.