Siem Reap and Bakong Well Project – Cambodia

This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.

This project has been completed.  To read about the conclusion, CLICK HERE.

Siem Reap and Bakong Districts, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Community Description
Caring for Cambodia (CFC) partners with the Cambodian government to provide preschool and K-12 education to 6,567 children in Siem Reap Province, including 3,392 females. CFC also supports 12 village-based preschools that focus on developing parenting skills and early childhood development for families in the communities surrounding target primary schools.

This project impacts the students, faculty, and community at eight of their nine K-12 target schools including 5 primary schools, 2 Junior High Schools, and 1 High School. All of these target schools are public schools operated through a partnership between Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport and Caring for Cambodia.

Many of the students and their families live in homes without water and must either purchase or carry in and filter their own drinking, toothbrushing, cooking, and handwashing water supply. The ninth target school recently upgraded its filtration system with the support of Water Charity, so they already have a new well.

To address a significant need within the surrounding communities, CFC supports water and filtration systems on each campus to provide water for students, teachers, and the wider communities, allowing families who need it to come and access potable water for their families.

In total, the target schools use almost 32,000 liters of well water each day, more than half of which is filtered for drinking and brushing teeth. The remainder is used in the schools’ life skills gardens and in the bathrooms.

Problem Addressed
Clean, potable water on school campuses has a strong and direct impact on the students’ health, directly correlating with their attendance and achievement. Access to clean water and toilets helps stop the spread of transmissible diseases, which weaken the students over time and can cause them to miss school, fall behind, and eventually make the choice that school is not for them.

However, the wells are beginning to face many problems. During the dry season, the water table is now too low and over-working in a drier well is causing many repair issues with the motor and pumps.

Project Description
This project is to drill new 8 new wells, which will create improved WASH systems at our target schools.

The new wells will be drilled to a depth of 55m. To further improve the longevity of the motors and pumps, an automatic shut-off mechanism will be installed for the pump so that the motor and pump stop working either when the water table is low or when the water tank is full.

These improved systems will reduce maintenance costs as the motor and pump will have a greater lifespan due to the automatic shut-off systems, which causes the systems to be more sustainable in an eventual handover to the schools and broader community.

The new wells will be connected to the existing WASH infrastructure, including pipe systems to toilets as well as to the existing bio-sand filtration systems, which distribute potable water to handwashing stations and bottle refill stations across the campuses.

The local company doing the installation has agreed to significant discounts on materials and labor as the company recognizes the project’s importance to the communities and its long-term investment to the country in promoting improved education outcomes. The schools will provide unskilled labor, local materials, and a small amount of money for a total community contribution of 10%

Project Impact
6,567 people, plus their families and the communities surrounding the schools, will benefit from the project.

Project Administration
Christin Spoolstra, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV), now Deputy Country Director, Caring for Cambodia. To read about the 5 prior projects Christin did with Water Charity, CLICK HERE.

Monitoring and Maintenance
The WASH systems will continue to be supported in conjunction with each school by Caring for Cambodia until a more permanent handover of the organization’s projects to the Ministry of Education. Until that time, CFC will continue to lead regular WASH Team meetings to train school staff on proper maintenance of the WASH infrastructure.

Furthermore, by utilizing the newer technology of the automatic shut-off motor and pump, there will be a less long-term financial commitment from the schools for repairs.

Let Girls Learn
Slightly more than half of the students are females, who benefit the most from WASH projects, including from gender-separated toilets, on each campus.

Furthermore, filtered water available to the community members in the households surrounding the schools serves to reduce the time and effort to gather and boil water, chores which mostly fall to the female members of the household.

Fundraising Target

Funds raised in excess of the project amount will be allocated to other projects in the country.

Donations Collected to Date


Donations of any amount will be appreciated. The full amount will give you “naming rights”, if that is something you would like.

Dollar Amount Needed


Conclusion of Siem Reap and Bakong Well Project – Cambodia

This project has been completed under the direction of Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and Deputy Country Director of Caring for Cambodia Christin Spoolstra. To read about the start of the project, CLICK HERE.

The project was designed to drill new 8 new wells.

Christin reports:

Thanks to funding from Water Charity, Caring for Cambodia (CFC) was able to renovate the water systems at eight of our nine K-12 target schools including 5 primary schools, 2 Junior High Schools, and 1 High School. As many of our students and their families live in homes without water, CFC support filtration systems on every campus to provide water for students, teachers, and the wider communities.

After many years of operation, though, the wells were nearing the end of their lifespan, with a depleted water table, particularly during Cambodia’s dry season. With the pumps over-working in a drier well, the pumps and motors required more frequent repairs, which stretched the schools’ and CFC’s limited budgets. Because access to clean water and toilets helps stop the spread of transmissible diseases which weaken our students over time and can cause them to miss school, fall behind, and eventually drop out, CFC prioritized this well drilling project and is extremely grateful for Water Charity’s partnership in this endeavor.

This project used local expertise and supplies to drill new wells at a depth of 55m. We also purchased new pumps with an automatic shut-off mechanism to improve the longevity of the motors and pumps, reducing future repair costs. The new wells were connected to the existing WASH infrastructure, supplying water to the filtration systems, handwashing stations, agriculture gardens, school grounds, and toilets. CFC will continue supporting WASH team meetings at each school to train school staff on proper care and maintenance for the system.

This project directly improved the lives of 4,602 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 as well as their families and the wider community as the WASH systems’ potable water is accessible to community members. During construction, the workers and suppliers decided to offer an additional $7 discount per well so that the schools did not need to use part of their Program Budget, allowing the schools to save that money for other necessary operating expenses.

The school leaders, students, and community members all expressed their gratitude to Water Charity:

Thanks to Water Charity for donating a clean water well for all the students and the community! Since this water is filtered, we don’t need to worry about boiling it and can drink directly from the well.
– Chok Dary, Principal of Spean Chreav Amelio Primary School

Thank you, Water Charity, for sponsoring a well for our community so that our family can have clean water to drink so that our family and the rest of the community will not be sick as often.
– Sary, Community Member

Thank you to Water Charity for sponsoring a well at our school so that we can use and drink clean water directly from the well so that we don’t need to spend our budget on water anymore!
– Somarady, Grade 6 Student

Wells were completed in the following locations, with contributions from the communities in the form of discounts from the suppliers and construction workers:


Aranh Sakor Primary School,
15 May 2018

Spean Chreav Amelio Primary School,
12 May 2018

Aranh Sakor CFC High School,
21 May 2018

Aranh Cuthbert Junior High School,
17 May 2018

Bakong Motwani Junior High School,
9 May 2018

Kong Much Primary School,
10 May 2018

Kravaan Primary School,
8 May 2018

Bakong Primary School,
10 May 2018

We extend our thanks to Christin for completing this important project.