Lien AID has signed Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) with five Cambodian commune councils from Preak Reusey, Peam Cheleang, Prasat, Boeng Pruol, and Kaoh Samrong (Kampong Cham Province, Kandal Province) to start development of Community Water Enterprises (CWEs) in these communes. These projects are located along the Mekong River and are scheduled for completion in the second half of 2014.
The installation of CWEs at these new sites follow the highly successful pilot initiated at Chnok Trou in 2010 which to date, continues to provide an affordable and sustainable source of clean water for the commune and neighboring villages.
Safe drinking water remains a challenge for many communities living on floating villages and along the floodplains, where contaminated river water is used for cooking and drinking. In addition, in some provinces like Kandal, groundwater cannot be consumed due to its high levels of arsenic, leaving many with little option but to risk water-borne illnesses from ingesting river water.
These communities also face uncertainty in terms of food and job prospects. Depleting fish stocks has resulted in 20 per cent, or 400 families leaving Chnok Trou for dry land and greater work and education opportunities in the last two years, according to a report by Channel News Asia.
In the face of uncertain income, hard choices will be made by these communities with many favouring utilizing their hours engaging in income-generating activities such as fishing, and therefore drinking water with as minimal treatment effort necessary, despite the risk.
Therefore it is even more important that efforts continue to be channeled towards ensuring that these communities have access to a sustainable source of clean drinking water that they can afford.
Since signing these agreements between 19 and 26 February, needs assessments for all sites have concluded and installation work has begun. An estimated 39, 317 people across two provinces will benefit.
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