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Water Means Life – Angkor Hospital for Children’s commitment to improve water infrastructure and conserve water resources

Water is life, and as water resources become scarcer around the world, it is certainly time for us all, including Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC), to be strategic about water use and conservation.

Water conservation is a serious issue in Siem Reap – the province relies heavily on groundwater stores which are facing increasing pressure. Continued groundwater pumping is lowering the groundwater table while the city faces a severe shortage of water to serve the rapidly growing tourism and allied industries. To make matters worse, Cambodia is vulnerable to the effects of El Niño which include significantly less rainfall patterns, warmer weather and delayed or shorter monsoon rains; all serious issues for an agronomy-reliant society.

Siem Reap bore the brunt of El Niño’s effects in 2016 with the worst drought the province has seen in over half a century. There is a great risk that Siem Reap will continue to face severe drought in the coming years and an urgent need to conserve water where possible.

Hospitals by their very nature are water-intensive facilities, consuming large amounts of water, for laundry, sterilisation, housekeeping and cleaning as well as for drinking water. The need for a sanitary and hygienic environment and the real threat of hospital acquired infection mandates frequent hand washing, frequent deep cleaning, and repeated disinfection and sterilisation of clothing, instruments and floors; all of which consume considerable amounts of water.

Hospitals like Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) can play an important role in decreasing water consumption, which in turn can provide environmental benefits. AHC aims to address the water challenge in Siem Reap by implementing critical water reduction strategies whilst maintaining delivery of quality healthcare. The hospital plans to improve AHC’s current water infrastructure including complete mapping of the hospital’s water infrastructure, installation of a water reservation pool and restructuring of the hospital water system.

After conducting a thorough needs analysis, AHC had identified a number of challenges related to water management within the hospital, which make the need to restructure our water systems all the more important, including:

  • Significant water consumption
  • Reliance on only one water source
  • Lack of contingency measures in case of a water crisis
  • Water leakage
  • Unclean water
  • Safety issues related to buildings located over the underground well and water-table

To address these ongoing water challenges, AHC wishes to:

  • Establish an up-to-date AHC water infrastructure master plan
  • Measure/benchmark current water consumption
  • Coordinate with relevant local authorities for permissions and cooperation
  • Construct a water reservation pool
  • Conduct structural renovations of water piping system including documenting of new water infrastructure

Implementing these improvements to AHC’s water management will help AHC to significantly reduce our impact on the environment, and particularly to reduce the pressure on groundwater resources in Siem Reap. There will be additional benefits of economic savings, disaster preparedness, enhanced patient and staff experience and a reduced reliance on outside suppliers for such an essential need as water.

AHC is currently seeking donors to help support this important work – please contact [email protected] for more information.

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