Although Cambodia receives rainwater (rice is a major crop) there is no way to store the monsoon rainfall in a sanitary manner. For many people water is collected from rivers, ponds, and stagnant pools. Even in 2023 Cambodia has no infrastructure to provide water to its rural countrymen. It has been our Project Manager, Saron Soeun’s mission to provide families with wells in their yards so they can have their own source of water. Since 2009, Saron has worked cooperatively with Commune Chiefs to choose recipients from rural villages in Siem Reap and Oddor Meanchey Provinces. He then contracts with a family drilling team to drill the wells. There are 2 types of well – hand pump – drilled to a depth of 30 feet; and cement pipe wells that are drilled much deeper depending on water supply and usage. Recently the Chinese government has brought electricity to some of the rural villages. In that case, we will provide an electric pump to the well to make it easier to get water. The well sits on a cement pad. Another pad is built next to the well for a hand written inscription from the donor.
When we again returned to walk the rural villages, we were saddened to see how many NGO (non government organizations) had built wells but never returned to repair them. So it has been one of our priorities to maintain every well we have drilled.
Saron has the villagers report to him when a well has broken down. Reasons are usually the hot, humid temperatures degrading the rubber gaskets or flooding that has ruined the well on the concrete pad. The wells are then replaced, and now when electricity is available, an electric pump is made available.
Recently, in 2022, 14 wells were replaced. The dates on some of these wells were 2012, 2016, 2018.