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Phone app to chart water shortages

4 water app

Smartphone users in Cambodia will soon be able to monitor and receive information on water supplies in their area.

Called “How is your water today?”, the app is part of a Radio Free Asia (RFA) effort known as “The Water Project” to chronicle and compile the independent media group’s reports on water-shortage issues in the region.

The app, slated to be released in July, is a crowd-sourcing platform that will allow users to post photos about water problems in their neighbourhood.

Photos are geotagged to their location and will appear on a public map with a user-submitted report – accessible via mobile or tablet devices.

Project director Catherine Antoine hopes that such an approach will capture the rapidly growing mobile market in Cambodia.

“Despite the efforts from the government and organisations, water issues remain a major concern in Cambodia,” she said.

Water scarcity issues are common, and agribusinesses and urban areas alike are routinely hit by droughts.

Just last month, Sihanoukville suffered a crippling water shortage because its main service reservoir ran dry.

The main culprits that limit access to clean water in Cambodia are economics and climate change, Antoine said.

“It’s a simple issue of development. The more urban the country becomes, the more water intensive it is,” she added.

RFA has received reports from farmers who say they have been forced to change their age-old agriculture patterns after the shifting climate caused water shortages, Antoine said.

Indeed, experts say water problems loom just over the horizon. Meach Mean, co-ordinator for the 3S Rivers Protection Network, said the country’s water resources are being over-taxed, with far too many dams in the pipeline.

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