Vegetables and women grow together with the help of a new solar-powered water pumping system | WWF
Vegetables and women grow together with the help of a new solar-powered water pumping system

Posted on 25 May 2020

Villagers in Punchea Village in Ou Krieng Commune, Sambo District, Kratie Province—90 percent of whom are Phnong indigenous people—live where the water of life flows, 500 to 1,000 m away from the bank of the Mekong River. But none of them were able to grow vegetable, because they didn’t have enough water at home.
Written by Sina Pha, Communications Officer of WWF-Cambodia


Villagers in Punchea Village in Ou Krieng Commune, Sambo District, Kratie Province—90 percent of whom are Phnong indigenous people—live where the water of life flows, 500 to 1,000 m away from the bank of the Mekong River. But none of them were able to grow vegetable, because they didn’t have enough water at home.
 
But in December 2018, with the help of a new water pumping system, young girls and women in the village no longer needed to carry heavy buckets of water from the river to their houses. Women who once barely managed to collect enough water for daily cooking could now grow vegetables and sell them. For the first time, they even spared some pocket money to give their children for when they go to school. Not only do these water pumps reduce the women’s health risks, but they also provide better economic freedom.
 
The water pumping system was fully installed and in operation with the help of the Healthy Place Healthy People (HPHP) program and WaterAid Cambodia, and a management committee was also formed. Solar-powered, the system pumps water from the river and stores it in two 5,000-liter water tanks, which are later carried to households around the village via smaller water pipes connected to water meters to measure their monthly water usage.
 
The management committee was in charge of operating the system, doing the finance, connecting pipes to the villagers’ houses, maintaining the pipes and providing 24-hour service calls for any reports of broken pipes. In seven months (January to July 2019), the committee earned 1,650,000 Khmer riel (US$412.5) from installing water meter service and selling the water to the villagers—paid to the committee’s joint bank account for transparent records—20 percent of which supported community members in patrolling the Mekong River to combat illegal fishing, another 20 percent for system improvement funds, 10 percent for the management committee, and the remaining money saved as reserved funds for future uses.

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Mrs La Chhea, watering her eggplants in her home garden in Kratie province.
© Sina / WWF-Cambodia