Clean water for all!

Why does this project exist you ask? Having access only to dirty pond water or arsenic well water in the dry seasons, and seeing people who do not have enough money for medical costs suffering from Typhoid – that is what made me initiate this project. Having to drive 12 km by motorbike to access fresh drinking water gave me personal insight into the water problem these people experience. Getting blood-poisoning from the water also increased my desire to support these people. Then, when I went to the doctor I saw he had a rainwater tank made of cement that could conserve the water from one rain season to the next. This gave me incentive to collect more information, which led me to an organisation called Rainwater Cambodia. The construction of the first rainwater set could be realised with the money that I earned in Phnom Penh from the shooting of a film, “Le Grand Empire du Tigre” - as a "little movie star"! The plan to equip all families in Tropeang Sdock village within 3 years with a rain water set was realised with the support of the Entwicklungshilfeklub Wien, my colleagues of the BRG X Ettenreichgasse Vienna as well as Sorya. Since 2008 we have the first rain water village of Cambodia!
Dorothea Schaffernicht, Vienna

The first container at Sorya, built in 2005. Each has a 5000 l capacity
During dry season, stomach and intestinal diseases are prevalent in the Takeo Province due to clean water shortage. People get diarrhea, typhoid, or tumors in the bowel system. There are wells in the village, but the water is arsenic and has high lime levels (a high pH value). Arsenic material in the sediment dissolves into the groundwater, especially in underground layers with low oxygen content. This problem concerns all of South East Asia. Also, there are three ponds that collect rainwater. The water quality in these ponds is very poor, particularly towards the end of the dry season.

This is how the "Rainwater Village" idea came to life and with it the "Clean Water for all" project. The goal of the first project stage was reached successfully in 2008. This means all 115 families of Tropeang Sdock have a rain water container.

The villagers of Tropeang Sdock gained more than just clean water with the rain water tanks. Following repercussions can be observed:
  • The villagers suffer significantly less from diseases. Accordingly medical treatment is needed less often. This is very important because most people have not enough money to pay medical services.
  • The villagers don’t need to carry fresh water to their homes anymore because the rain water tanks are installed right next to their houses. This leaves them more time to do other activities (e.g. auxiliary earnings)
  • The people have understood by personal experience the link between health and water quality. Accordingly they take care of this resource.
  • For the construction of the tanks local workers are required on the spot. This enables the opportunity to earn some money outside the agriculture sector.
  • The hired farmers who cast the cement rings and build up the tanks gained knowledge and experience outside the agriculture sector.
  • The level of ground water is preserved because substantially less water is used from the wells.
  • The trainings about hygiene and tank cleaning are a firm basis for a long lasting use of the tanks.

The project “clean water for all” is a huge success regarding health, education and labor like the repercussions above show. Due to that reason the project was extended. By the end of the year 2011 in total 250 tanks have been built in the neighboring villages (beside the 115 tanks in Tropang Sdock) .
But that's not the end of the project "clean water for all" which is organized in close cooperation with Entwicklungshilfeklub Wien from Austria. Further village communities have seized on the idea and have asked Sorya Cambordia for support. Thus we have started to build further rain water tanks in the villages of Dok Por, Kandal and Krang Tnoung in 2012.
If you would like to support the project please find respective options at “Support”(click) or on the webpage of the Austrian Entwicklungshilfeklub Wien (click).

If you wish to know more about the technical background do not hesitate to download the WorkingPaper “Regenwasserdorf” (rain water village) and the flyer (which we use in are workshops to instruct the tank-recipients in the use and maintenance of the rain water tanks).