Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, "When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?"
The King will answer, "Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me." .......Matthew 25

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Living waters in Cambodia - clean water and good sanitation

In 1998, the National Institute of Statistics, Ministry of Planning reported that in Kampong Thom province access to safe drinking water was only 2.1%. This was taken to be from either piped sources or from tube wells. About 82% of water was from dug wells, and another 14% from surface sources such as springs, rivers, ponds and rain. This was compared to the access to safe water at the national level of 23.7%.

I am sure the situation has improved since then, but probably not by much.

Tube wells are considered relatively safe because the water is 'filtered' through soil and is relatively free from contamination as compared to dug wells. Water sources close to the surface are notoriously contaminated. Sanitation in rural Cambodia is atrocious. The
World Bank-sponsored Water and Sanitation Programme reported recently that only 16%
of rural Cambodians have access to toilets.

However, it is fallacious to think that just because water is visually clean, that it is safe to drink. Even filtered water may be contaminated by chemical pollutants from the indiscriminate use and disposal of pesticides, fertilizers and discarded batteries etc.

As we go to the villages, together with the placement of a school, we also construct a tube well plus toilets for the school. These are not too expensive to construct and dramatically improves the health of the children when they have access to good sanitation and safe drinking water.

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