Clean drinking water is the top priority for Siem Reap based NGO Water For Cambodia, working primarily to provide clean water to rural families, and even more so on developing a model that works for others to follow.
Founder, Gunther Hausen, first visited Cambodia in 2002, and after discovering the many health issues of young Cambodians derived from preventable water borne illnesses, he established Water For Cambodia (WFC) to provide solutions to the approximately 80% of rural Cambodians in need of clean water.
Why water wells are not enough
There are many projects helping villages and households to establish wells, however this only solves part of the problem, and clean water is the critical next step.
Naturally occurring E.coli bacteria and iron in the soil are the biggest issues for most families with wells, it causes health issues and other problems. Water For Cambodia uses biosand filters to remove all these impurities in a biological way, turning contaminated water from rivers, ponds and wells into safe drinking water.
80% of rural Cambodians are in need of clean water solutions.
WFC’s expert team provides support and training to ensure that new owners of water filters are equipped to maintain the filter to get the most benefit.
The benefits of biosand filters
Biosand filters have a long life span and are extremely easy to maintain with the right training. Once about 20% of a community use and know about the filters, they can help with teaching and supporting the rest of the people with their own filters.
Rural families are extremely happy with the results; they save time and money by not having to buy water and not having to boil it, they have a clean source of water for doing the laundry and they have safe drinking water.
Last but not least, the filters are extremely efficient, filtering 20 litres of water in just 25 minutes.
WFC’s water testing lab
Additionally, Water For Cambodia has the only water testing lab outside of Phnom Penh, which means they’re able to regularly test water and ensure that their filters are quality controlled.
The lab is also a service for hotels and restaurants to test their own filtration systems, ice and other water sources they’re responsible for maintaining. It’s proved to be a popular service even for expats and locals to have the water at their homes tested.
Water testing starts from just $15 for a household test and they recommend annual testing as an ongoing safety measure. Commercial businesses differ from this and their clients have a much more regular and rigorous testing program.
To date WFC has distributed over 20,000 biosand filters during their 12 years of existence. Their goal is to provide long lasting solutions, training and education to help break the cycle of poverty.
WFC also provide hygiene and literacy education to further improve the standard of living for Cambodians in rural communities.
Learn more about Water For Cambodia’s projects and how to help by visiting their website.