About our wells


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“When the well is dry, we know the Worth of Water”
Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanach, 1746

Contractors drilling a location, Smach

Community First’s exciting new water well program is thriving. The 16 villages of the Sen Sok commune don’t have access to clean water. The people have to get it from remote open air wells, or from rain water collected from rooftops. Access to clean water is a critical issue for developing countries because of water-borne diseases and of the extensive labor required. In the Sen Sok commune, Community First has made a difference by working with a small Cambodian contractor to bring water to the first two villages of the commune. With each project, one village at a time, we see how access to clean water is changing the lives of the people. In the Sen Sok Commune we have to drill as deep as 50 meters (over 160 feet) to reach a reliable water table. In contrast, some other areas of the Siem Reap Province such as Angkor Thom, where the Angkor Temples are found, the water table is only a few meters deep.

This unfortunate geographic feature of Sen Sok Commune has called for some innovative thinking and additional resources. We had to drill deeper and install heavy duty pumps to bring the water to ground level.

Our water program has been designed to not only provide water, but also to make it a sustainable resource that the community can own and maintain. The community wells are built on a piece of land that was donated by a family for this purpose. To ensure the sustainability of the initiative, a Water Pump Committee takes responsibility for the well. This allows people to take pride in this new resource.

Water Pump Committee, Kok Yeang

Composed of two men and two women, the Water Pump Committee is in charge of (1) ensuring the maintenance and the occasional repairs and (2) disseminating knowledge best practices on water usage and sanitation.

Because we have chosen to work in an area where water is difficult to access, we may not be able to dig a well for each community. We have therefore designed a simple system for water mobility.

A water cart is provided to each Water Pump Committee. The water cart can contain up to 220 liter (58 gallons). It makes it possible for villagers to fill up in less than a day, instead of having to carry water buckets back and forth over several days.

This clean water can be used by families for drinking and cooking. In addition, access to this essential resource will also enable families to start small scale agricultural initiatives with the help of Community First’s Agricultural Program.

Water Cart, Kok Yeang

Mr. Choy Thoeun, father of five, from Kok Yeang village, told us how grateful he was for the new well. He used to fetch all his water from a hand dug pit out in the rice paddies. It took him several hours each day to carry water back and forth with two buckets slung over his shoulders. Choy Thoeun says “Now my family no longer struggles to fetch water from long distance, as we have a water well near the house and access to a water cart. Also, for the first time in our lives, we don’t have to constantly worry about the lack of water, and the water-borne diseases are reduced. Yes, our living standard are greatly improved!

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