A MULTIPLIER OF COMMUNITY SUCCESS
The Tabitha Water Sources programme runs in parallel with the “Community Development through Savings” programme. This programme enables families to have access to clean, potable water and to raise a family’s income significantly. Before a family receives a source of water they must be in the savings programme. Without a distinct change in attitude and the development of a dream, wells will not impact a family’s development.
In the absence of safe wells, drinking water is sometimes taken from open ponds or rivers which are commonly polluted with excreta or chemicals. Villagers (and most importantly children) often develop dysentery.
The average distance to walk to a safe water source is 3 kilometers. This means that several members of the family are required to wake at 4 in the morning, walk to the water source and then wait their turn for water – usually 3 to 4 hours. As a result, this can preclude children from attending school.
Without a sustainable source of clean water near their homes, families are restricted in their ability to increase their incomes. Animal husbandry or growing crops is nearly impossible without an ongoing source of water available.
Crops (mainly rice) are grown during the wet season. However, because precipitation tends to be erratic, wet season crops may fail due to inadequate rainfall. A well can ensure a consistent supply of water to the crops.
During the long dry season no crops will grow unless a reliable source of water is secured. Wells and ponds provide that security. Families with wells or ponds grow “6-week’ vegetables, including “morning glory”, peas, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. throughout the dry season. Animal husbandry, the raising of pigs, chickens, and ducks, is an integral part of income generation from wells. Their productive growth seasons expand from 6 months to an average of 11 months per year, thereby tripling a family’s income as well as providing food security.
TYPES OF WELLS
Several types of wells are used in Cambodia – the type depends on the nature of water available.
Two main varieties of family well are used - the decision on which type will be used in an area depends on the type and quality of water available. Both types of well supply at least five families (40 people).
Family Tube Wells: A machine drills a pipe to reach the aquifer – usually 50-60 metres down. A hand pump is placed at the top of the pipe, allowing water to be pumped to the surface. A cement apron is placed around the well. Tube wells are used whenever possible - that is, when good quality water can be found in deeper aquifers.
Family Open Wells: The families dig a hole about 10-15 metres deep. Cement rings are then used to keep the well open and rise more than 1 metre from the ground. Tops are placed over the well to prevent pollution and villagers are taught about correct sanitary well maintenance. The cost includes a 1meter cement skirt. Open wells are used when deeper water is brackish or polluted, preventing the use of tube wells.
These wells are constructed in the fields where crops are irrigated and/or livestock maintained. As with tube wells, a machine drills 2 bore holes down into the aquifer; and 2 plastic pipes to the surface are installed, allowing water to be pumped to the surface. Families then either save for a petrol-powered pump or rent a pump from a villager who has one. Field wells allow 2-4 hectares of land to produce crops all year, dramatically increasing the reliability of food supplies for poor families. A field well can look like a regular family well, but they differ in the depth of the well. This means these wells can be dual-purpose if the families live near the fields.
Family field ponds are used in areas where the water table is dispersed. In these areas water seeps up through the soil, providing a constant source of fresh water. Family field ponds fill by seepage from the water table and provide household water and water for irrigation on an average of 2-4 hectares of land. These ponds are about 10 x 7 metres across and about 3-4 metres deep. They supply several families with drinking and irrigation water.
(tube or open)
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Funding a well for a family or village is a wonderful way to help people help themselves. For each well purchased you have the option to receive a certificate and a photo of your well once it has been completed. Wells also make for thoughtful gifts!
The types of wells available for funding are below: