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In the Banteay Meas Khang Koeut Commune in Kampot province, many families struggle to find access to safe drinking water, particularly during the dry season when traditional jars and tanks used to store rain-water run empty.
Purchasing bottled water is not an option for poor families due to high prices, and water from the commune pond is not safe to drink. With more irregular rainfall and a longer dry season in recent years, climate change has made matters worse.
The Cambodia Climate Change Alliance programme – funded by the European Union, Sweden and UNDP – stepped in together with the National Committee for Disaster Management and helped establish a community-managed water station, treating water from the commune pond and distributing it to local villagers for a minimal fee to cover production costs and maintenance of the equipment.
Living in a wooden house, Ms. Ker Tom, 55 years old, is from one of the first families who decided to access clean water produced by the local community, Women Community Drinking Water. She began using it in 2016, and appreciates the water for its quality and price. This drinking water is cheaper than other brands in the market: a gallon only costs 1,500 riels ($0.38). Her family has experienced much better health conditions, with no water-related diseases since 2016. Though her family now has access to clean water, she still uses rain water for cooking, cleaning, and washing.
Through the support provided by CCCA in cooperation with local authorities and NCDM, people within the commune have now developed skills in safe water production and community business management. They are less dependent on unpredictable rainfall for their basic water and sanitation needs. The station is built on commune land, and the community business model makes it sustainable. However, public funds are still essential to cover the initial training and investment costs to expand this successful model in other vulnerable locations.