Freshwater resources, major concern in Koh Kapik

17 May 2013 | Article

Koh Kapik village in Koh Kong province, Cambodia, is an isolated village surrounded by mangrove forest and salt-water with limited access to the mainland. Approximatly 1,168 people over 233 villages are now lacking freshwater for daily consumption, making this village is highly vulnerable to natural disaster and climate change.

Koh Kapik is located in the Peam Krosop Wildlife Sanctuary (PKWS) zone, the first protected area in Cambodia to be regulated by the Cambodian government. Livelihoods in the area are heavily dependent on natural resources, with 90% of the villagers working as fisher folk. Temperature rise, beach erosion, and limited access to the freshwater are some on the serious challenges facing the communities.

Rainwater harvesting and wells are common practice for water acquisition in the villages. However, during the dry season, these practices are insufficient and the communities must purchase and import water from neighbouring villages and import it via motorboat along the Koh Kapik Channel. During the dry season, this channel is often very shallow, making water transport difficult and expensive. The communities have been suffering from water stress for many years and there are fears that situation will continue to worsen due to increasing effects from climate change. According to a Technical and Feasibility Analysis of Promoting Local Initiative (PLI) conducted by IUCN in March 2012, a daily average consumption of water in this village is 30 litres/ person and its price is US$1.00 for a bucket of 220 liters. An average family spends approximately US$245.45 a year on water; the village expenditure can be up to US$79,500. As a result of this PLI, improving access to freshwater resources was selected as an immediate priority.

The Building Coastal Resilience to Climate Change project, implemented by IUCN Cambodia and funded by European Union, supports improved access to freshwater. The project team, together with the local community, determined solutions such as; improving rainwater harvesting; increasing well drilling; and reverse osmosis (desalination). Another solution would be to remove the sediment in the Koh Kapik Channel which connects the village to the town, improving water distribution.

 

For more information, please contact:

Mr. KONG Kinmsreng, Senior Programme Officer, IUCN Cambodia

Mr. SUN Kong, Field Coordinator, IUCN Cambodia

Ms. SAY Chenda, Communication Officer, IUCN Cambodia