The villagers of San Mamuang can now rely on something many of us take for granted – their running water is clean and safe to drink, cook, and wash with. After an amazing period of funding and hard work, the Discova-led project to provide a water filtration system for San Mamuang village in Om Goi district has been completed.
The project sought to rectify the public health hazard in the northern Thai village, whose water supply was contaminated with various chemicals. This, worryingly, led to numerous health issues related to the water supply.
Watch the video below for the inspiring journey and what this project means for the villagers of San Mamuang!
After raising the necessary funding – a whopping USD 11,593 – through our Walk for Water campaign, in which Discova employees collectively walked 10,000km across 10 days, the work began. With the help of generous donations from our partners, the construction of the water filtration system has finally been achieved.
Our Operations Leader in Thailand, Porjai Chaiwongyart, or ‘Nuk’ for short, was recently at the village to oversee the installation.
She was there to film the final steps of the process and, more generally, to represent Discova at this celebratory moment for the community.
“Heavy rain delayed the completion of the water tanks for a little while in January as it was difficult for materials to be delivered.”
“There was also a slight panic as I tested positive for coronavirus during my visit to the village! Fortunately, I was able to go and isolate, and all of the villagers subsequently tested negative.”
Nuk was able to return to San Mamuang in time to see the tanks completed and to witness the moment that clean, useable, and chemical-free water spewed out of the taps on testing day.
Now, the water passes through the filtration of specially selected stones, charcoal, and sand on its way to several water stations throughout the village. A section of the community is responsible for each station as they ensure the upkeep and maintenance of the system. They also benefit from the surplus amount of funds raised – if any of the pipes or tanks become damaged, they have the funds to pay for repairs.
Every household in the village has access to this clean water supply – they simply head to their station and gather what filtered water they need for their drinking, washing, or cooking needs.
“It was a real team effort to get the funding, a real team effort to build the tanks, and it continues to be a team effort to maintain the system. This is a true community project from start to finish, and the villagers couldn’t be happier to have a water supply they can rely on.”
Unfortunately, contaminated water is a concern for other villages in Om Goi district. When speaking with the village elder in charge of several villages in the area, he said that he had been approached by other community members to request they have their own water filtration systems.
“There are other villages vulnerable to the same health problems as San Mamuang”, Nuk said. “As such, at Discova, we think that this water filtration system may be a pioneer project, to be replicated more broadly in the area.”
This is, in fact, the second such system we have constructed, but it seems like there is a demand for more in the future.
And, of course, these projects will need to be funded. This may involve further donation drives such as our Walk for Water campaign. Historically, our projects were funded mainly by profits from bringing travellers to the area. That revenue stream is now available once more.
The recent announcements on Thailand opening pave the way for returning educational travellers to the area – something everybody is looking forward to!
“The villagers I have spoken to reminisce fondly of past projects and activities with visiting educational groups – they’re thrilled at the prospect of welcoming visitors once more.”
We will examine and discuss what to do next based on needs analysis at our upcoming and ongoing meetings with the village elder and other community members. If, as it seems likely, there is a demand for more water filtration systems, we will do what we can to put a plan together for further installations.
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