The Kraing Serei Community Forestry (KCF) was coordinated by Mlbub Baitong organization, supported by UNDP-Small Grant Programme-Cambodia Community Based Adaptation Programme (UNDP-SGP-CCBAP). The project received grants from the Embassy of Sweden in Cambodia from December 2011-November 2012.

The project was to dig one community pond with four meters in depth and 5,400 square meters in size. Located at the bottom between two hills, the reservoir catches rain water coming down from both hills to store for use all year round. It sits on an altitude of seven meters above the village and can hold approximately 38,300 cubic meters of water.

A main pipeline of 2,892 metres was installed to flow water from the reservoir to the village. The connection was set up with four main lines (Line 1 was 440 metres with a pipe diameter of 150 mm; Line 2 was 440 metres with a pipe diameter of 100 mm; Line 3 was 288 metres with a pipe diameter of 80 mm; and Line 4 was 1,724 metres with a pipe diameter of 49 mm). The distance between pond and village is about 800 meters long.

A water management committee was set up after an election by the community forestry and its community members in 2012. The water management committee consisted of seven members (one woman).
The committee played an important role ensuring the management and maintenance of the reservoir and piped water system, including water meters, during and at the end of the project. They also had to ensure fair water distribution to community members and sustainable water use for one year in the village. They established water-use regulation with eight chapters and 20 articles.

Their tasks include operating the reservoir, monitoring the piped water network and collecting water fees from the community beneficiaries. Water usage fees (US$0.12 per cubic metre) have been managed directly by the committee and were used to finance the maintenance and operation of the pipe network and other community development activities as well as support incentive to the committee members.

The UNDP-SGP-CCBAP also assisted the villagers in creating four savings groups in order to help community members saving their money for other purposes. The villagers pooled the money as a security fund they can use in case of emergency or as a source to start a small business.


Web sources:

Detailed description of the project on the UNDP-Cambodia website: Case study_Kraing Serei_April 2015_Eng

Article: In Cambodia, villagers take entrepreneurial step in solving water woe, UNDP

Article: From a water scarce to a water supplier – a tale of one Cambodian village, UNDP


Objectives and beneficiaries

The project was to promote the livelihood of local community members of KCF and enable them to adapt to climate change, especially for chronically drought.

The project helps to improve the livelihood of 65 households in one village in 2012 and expanded to 120 households in 2015 in 3 villages of Kirivon commune so that they are able to adapt better to drought, a frequent occurrence experienced by the villagers.

The main component of the initiative is the construction of a water supply system for household use, home gardening, cash crop growing, and animal rearing. There are 600 people living in the community, among them, 360 are women. The KCF plans to extend their pipe system to other 400 more families in two other villages by the end of 2015.

Strong points of the practice

Sustainability: The best practice that can demonstrate enduring institutional, operational and financial sustainability through water fee collection for operation and maintenance which is under management of KFC and elders in Krang Serei village as well as provides incentive to committee members of KCF.

Innovation and Transferability: The best practice is demonstrating water management through constructing reservoir which is close to catchment of mountain water and new approaches of installing water pipes which can reduce work load, especially for women and children in collecting water for household use from long distance of their houses. This experience can overcome challenges and offer knowledge, experience and lessons of potential relevance to other communities.

Leadership and Community Empowerment: The best practice is demonstrating leadership that has inspired action and change, the empowerment of local people, and community management of natural resources or forest conservation through advisory role of elders to the KCF committee.

Empowerment of Women and Social Inclusion: The best practice promotes the equality and empowerment of women and/or marginalized groups through participation in making decision of how to grow vegetable, how to solve problem, and others.

Local ownership and participation: The concept of the project originated from the community members themselves based on long suffering experience with the drought.

Water security was identified as a main point in the community and this project is recognized as a long-term solution to reducing poverty among KCF members. Managing water from upstream can help the community adapt to irregular rainfall, changing rain patterns and prolonged drought.

Expected results and benefits for climate change adaptation and mitigation

Water security to adapt with impact of climate change: During the wet season, water for household consumption, crops and animals is not a major problem, as people generally use rainwater. However, water shortages for both domestic use and crop cultivation during the dry season have caused problems for the KCF. The construction of the reservoir, which has a storage capacity of 25,000 cubic metres, has given new hope to the community for coping with the impacts of climate change. During the rainy season, water flows from a catchment area of 15 hectares into the reservoir, which is generally full in September. This means the community could have water security during the dry season and prolong drought in early season, especially when there is erratic rainfall, prolonged drought and little water from nearby natural ponds which affected by climate change.

Livelihoods improvement and food production: There are 30 households growing vegetable in the village. The number of families who are growing vegetable for selling in the market has increased from 2 to 10. There are 20 other households have also engaged in growing vegetable for consumption. The number of families raising livestock has grown to 2 to 15 families. In addition, there are now 4 family fish ponds compared to none in the past when water scarcity was the biggest problem facing the villagers. Moreover, saving time from water collection in the past, most of 65 families in Krang Serei village have fulltime to get a job outside the village for additional support to their families which also can improve their livelihood.

Health and food security: The availability of water has led to significant improvement of sanitation in the village. Of the 65 households, 40 now have latrines with pipe water connection compared to only 2 in the past. The local residents, especially children, can now take bath more often than before. Villagers can also consume healthier food as they now can grow vegetable for their own consumption and supply to the market. The number of people visiting local health centre for water-related illnesses such as diarrhea and strep throat has been observed to be decreasing by nearly 70 percent.

Household’s income and finance: Each household can save at least four to five hours per day from collecting water to do other activities to generate income for their families. They also have access to community low-interest loans, through the savings groups, to start small businesses. In addition, each household can save between 30,000 riels to 50,000 riels (US$7.5 to US$12.5) per month that they used to spend on health-related issues before.

Financial Aspect: To sustain the operation of the initiative and ensure water security in the future, the water management committee has introduced a fee of about US$0.15 for every cubic meter of water used.
On average, the committee collects about US$50 per month during the dry season (within the 65 families in 2013). The money goes to build a fund for the maintenance of the reservoir and pipe system. During the raining season, the villagers can enjoy using the water free of charge.

In the past, the villagers spent on average four hours daily just on collecting water. Women, who make up more than half of the village’s population, bore the brunt of the work. Children also had to skip classes often to help with the task. Some people had their sleep shortened at night to rush to the wells before others could drain them of water. Others people had to buy it from outside, paying US$2 for every 400 litres of water just to last a few days. That’s a heavy sum in a country where many people still scrape by on less than US$1 a day. Now, these problems have been solved.

Replicability potential of the practice

After Kraing Serei applied successfully, there were 4 local NGOs used this best practice to implement in the same province, Kampot province, and Siem Reap province in Cambodia which were listed below:

- Sre Chea Khang Chheung commune, Dong Tong district, Kampot province, Cambodia, by local organization named Rain Water Cambodia Organization (RWC) from 2012-2013
- 5 villages in the Khnang Phnom Commune, Svay Lue District, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia from 2013-2014 by a local NGO named Federation for Integrated-Development of Agriculture in Cambodia (FIDAC)
- 4 villages in the Svay Lue Commune, Svay Lue District, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia from 2013-2014 by a local NGO named Conservation and Development on Cambodia (CDCam)
- Our commune, Phnom Srouch district, Kampong Speu province, Cambodia, by World Vision Cambodia in 2014

The best practice can be implemented everywhere which is suitable for mountainous area that people lack of water in least development country. It is easy.

[Editor's Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.]