Cambodia has the lowest rural sanitation coverage in the region. Sustainable water access remains a challenge, with high rates of inoperable water facilities. Rural access to both water and sanitation is further exacerbated by recurrent flooding.1 Some 3.9 million of those without access to safe drinking water in Cambodia are poor and live in rural areas.2
In parallel, ground water is widely used for domestic water supply in Cambodia and is increasingly being used for small scale irrigation. It is proposed that small scale pump irrigation from groundwater can circumvent the large investments in storage and transmission infrastructure required for surface water irrigation.3
UMR’s funded project has delivered 20 water wells, hand pump wells, and shallow tube ring wells for 1,368 rural beneficiaries, and conducted beneficiary sensitization trainings on water safety, benefits of safe water, personal/environmental hygiene and maintenance of wells.
Below are most common examples of beneficiary feedback, indicative of general living conditions of the recipient population:
1. Seasonal water shortage during drought (April-June), and use of unprotected unimproved surface water:
- Context: Slaeng village situates not too far from Kompong Thom town, however, there is no running water supplies available or connection from the town. This village has faced with drought issue during April to June this year. The people in this village have to pay for water consumptions from local water suppliers.
- Testimony: “We have to go collect water from differences sources, sometimes from ponds and sometimes from somebody’s wells. Every year, especially in dry season, we always face water shortage. We have to buy water costing 7,000 KH-Riels (1.75US Dollar) per jar from local suppliers. We are now very, very excited and happy that Muslim Aid and UMR had installed clean water well for our families. We no longer walk anywhere for water anymore because now we have water well nearby. Thanks so much to Muslim Aid and UMR.” said Mr. Cheng Choup (49 year-old).4</>
2. Double burden for women and girls:
- Context: Muslim Aid Cambodia (MAC) field staff in collaboration with Kampong Thom Provincial Department of Rural Development (PDRD) and local authorities identified that a number of households in Chamna village, Sala Visai commune, Prasat Ballangk district had lack access to clean and safe water. PDRD and commune have expressed their concern of the lack and difficulty of these people in this village. Selected beneficiaries are the poor farmers and have no capabilities to affordably pay for a water-well installation.
- Testimony: “Before I go to school, I have to collect water from somebody’s well for my family. But now I am very happy that has water well nearby. I do not need to go far for water anymore, says Sr. Saphorn, 12 years old, a daughter of Sam Sokha, who is living in Chamna village, Sala Visai commune, Prasat Ballangk district of Kampong Thom Province.” 5
3. Groundwater use for small scale irrigation
- Context: A number of households in Prasat village, Prasat commune, San Tuk district had lack access to clean and safe water.
Testimony: Mr. Sam Phang (47 years old), a father of three children and a disability people who is living in Prasat village, Prasat commune, San Tuk district of Kampong Thom province. He is a poor farmer that has no ability to pay for well installation. But now after his family got this water well from UMR they plant crop and vegetable for supporting their family. They are so happy.” 6
2UNICEF (2014) World Water Day. Press Release (PHNOM PENH, Cambodia 21 March 2014) https://www.unicef.org/cambodia/12681_22270.html
3IWMI – ACIAR Investing in Water Management to Improve Productivity of Rice-Based Farming Systems in Cambodia Project. Issue brief #3, June 2013.
4Recorded by: 8033 Sadia Zubairi July 2015
5Recorded by: 2531 Assya Abdallah August 2015
6Recorded by: 8256_Abdul Ahad Hayee_July 2015