Since 2006,the Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT) has implemented several projects to improve food security and income generation for the local people in Koh Phdao village. The aim has been to reduce their poverty and support natural resource conservation, especially the Irrawaddy Dolphins in the Mekong River.
However, CRDT have found that whilst this village is situated on one of the islands of the Mekong River, clean water and the accessibility of local people to it, remains a problem. This was particularly the case for old women and children who were having to climb right down the river bank to fetch water for their washing and cooking. In addition, the villagers could not irrigate their garden or crops around the houses unless they spent a lot of money on gasoline to pump water from the river. Toilets were rarely used due to the lack of water.
This year though CRDT has been able to tackle the problem of water access in Koh Phdao. Thanks to funding support from the Japanese Embassy (KUSANONE Project) CRDT has been able to operate it’s initiative “Water for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Livelihood Development”. One water tank was completely installed for use in the village and 90 out of 165 households have benefited from this water system. This has been particularly important for the women and children. It has solved the difficulties that children had in fetching water and for the women in the Koh Phdao community who are mainly responsible for housework like preparing food and growing vegetables, it has changed their lives. Mrs. Om Saren explained that the system helped provide her with much better access ‘to the water for cooking, washing, animal raising, vegetable growing and especially for serving the tourists when they came to stay at my house. I do not have to pump water from the river like before and can save a lot of money from not buying gasoline.’