After managing development projects in Cambodia since 1994, we’ve concluded that clean water is the most glaring absence from rural life. The absence of running water from villages marks a key divide in income, health, education and opportunity between urban and rural people.
Wells, bores, ponds, boiling and household filters have their pluses - but after careful study we believe that nothing satisfies the “three C’s” - cost, coverage and cleanliness – so well as treated, town-quality water piped direct to homes.
Lom Orng has therefore devised and costed plans to do just that. [Community Tapwater Scheme PDF 1.7Mb]
We have modelled our plan for rural water reticulation on the Mokkampul Water Supply in Kandal province – a technical and economic success. Our plant and piping design is by Mr Ma Noravin, Director of Production and Distribution at the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, one of the developing world’s most successful water utilities.
Our water will be user-pays, but cheap. The Lom Orng model, pioneered in the cassava industry, is to use donor start-up capital to create a business-NGO hybrid: a powerful social intervention that makes enough money to run itself.
Each commune-level project in the Community Tapwater Scheme will serve an average of 4,000 families. The Scheme will be nationwide, and modest profits from each project will go toward establishing a project in a new commune.
We are presently raising funds for our first project, in Battambang province. Here incomes are reasonable – but expenditures on dirty, trucked-in water are huge, as are the health problems which stem from using it.
Across Cambodia similar problems occur – with minerals such as arsenic, and high loads of coliform bacteria, taking huge tolls on villagers’ health. Few things would improve the quality of rural Cambodian life, health, work and incomes so much as a solution to the clean water problem.
Water will be supplied in tandem with sanitation training – a key recommendation of the UNDP’s Human Development Report on water.