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Koh Ker Clean Water Project

6 November 2009

According to RDIC , 74% of all deaths in Cambodia are caused by water borne diseases.

The school at Koh Ker has had a well for two years, so these pits behind the school where they used to get water have been filled in and mango trees planted in the space. That fixed most of the problem, but still the children continued to suffer from diarrhea and other illnesses typically caused from contaminated water.

A typical village water source used for bathing, cooking and drinking.

We had the well water at Koh Ker tested and RDIC found E Coli in the water, so filtration of the well water became necessary.

This kind of project is no easy task in such a remote location, but the commitment was made to get clean drinking water to the students and teachers. First the teachers and some men from the village went to the forest and cut some lumber to build the water tower. Stainless steel water tanks were installed at the top of the tower to collect the water that would be pumped up from the well. Of course, there’s no electricity so solar panels and batteries had to be transported from Phnom Penh and installed. Then the filters were installed between the upper and lower tanks.

The remote location makes getting clean water to the children a challenge.

There were the usual glitches during the install but in the end, 200 liters of clean drinking water are now available to the students all day, every day.
Mr. Kimsoung was very excited to invite all the villagers to the school for a “water tasting”.

An added bonus was being able to divert water from the first tank to the vegetable gardens via some PVC irrigation. No more having to haul water to the garden one bucket at a time.

We are looking forward to the improvement in health we know we will see in all the children and teachers at school. ( Just one week before the installation we had to transport the Principal to Siem Reap to be hospitalized for Typhoid)

All of us who enjoy the comforts of living in developed countries can’t help but take water for granted. I’m reminded of this every time I walk by one of those pits. We turn on a faucet and it comes out. Period. It’s difficult for us to imagine life without this kind of access to water and yet one in three people in the world don’t share in that luxury. Thank you for helping us get these 200 children on the other side of that statistic.

On behalf of the students and faculty at Koh Ker School, we send our profound thanks to Tian Sun Yap, Charmi Wood, Jan Depuydt and Matt & Michele Martindale who funded the project. Thank you 214 times.

“If there is magic on the planet, it is contained in Water.”

- Loren Eiseley, The Immense Journey, 1957.

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