Because of a long-damaged retaining wall at their local dam, water is often in short supply in Choam Srae village in northern Cambodia. And, even though the village has six ring wells and four hand pumps, each dry season, nearly 1,000 people in more than 200 families face water shortages. And, from February to June each year, some families spend more than a dollar each day – a burdensome, and needless, sum for most families – to buy water to drink, cook and bathe. Others simply go without water, or use unsafe water.
Earlier this year, because of their ongoing partnership with CWS and all their learning about the positive health and livelihood impacts of having enough clean water, the people of Choam Srae organized themselves to repair the retaining wall – once and for all. With their Commune Council and Village Development Committee supported by CWS, villagers managed to collect about $2,250 to leverage another $750 from CWS and complete the repairs.
Now that the dam is usable again, people have enough water for home use, cattle-raising, rice paddy irrigation and subsistence fishing at the dam. In talking about the finally-completed repairs to the retaining wall, Mr. Chhay Sareang, one VDC member, said “All families in my village appreciate this dam, because now the situation of every family is better – for cooking, washing clothes, raising animals, rice irrigation and even catching fish to eat. Now, we plan to upgrade the dam with spillways for drainage, and we promised ourselves to maintain the dam for the future since we have invested so much now”.