The Ministry of Environment and Wildlife Alliance Cambodia inaugurated a new well with a 10,000 litre capacity water storage tank that is meant to serve around 176 households in Chi Phat commune’s Kamlot village of Koh Kong province’s Thma Bang district.

In addition to that, the project that built the well is also responsible for the construction of three roads that will benefit 638 households in that same area.

According to a joint press release, the new large community water well is powered by solar energy. The ministry and the international NGO also inaugurated three village laterite roads for use by the rural community that did not have access to fresh water and was not easily accessible by road until now.

The construction projects were made possible thanks to the Southern Cardamom REDD+ Project that sells carbon offsets to big corporations in exchange for Cambodia maintaining more of its territory as undeveloped forestland.

“This well is the largest one in the country with a 10,000 litre capacity storage tank that will serve 176 households, corresponding to almost 800 people. The three roads will benefit 638 households who will now have direct access to them,” the press release read.

The Southern Cardamom REDD+ Project was established in 2015 and its main purposes are to promote climate change adaptation and impact mitigation by protecting forests in the Cardamom Mountains rainforest landscape.

Chuop Paris, undersecretary of state and National REDD+ official, said during the ceremony on January 18 that the proceeds from carbon offset sales would be used to create infrastructure and opportunities to support livelihoods for communities and to generate revenue for the government.

“Congratulations on the inauguration of this well and these roads. Your communities and families are surely happy about these great benefits to help your livelihoods,” he said.

Suwanna Gauntlett, founder and CEO of Wildlife Alliance, spoke about the importance of protecting Cambodia’s only untouched rainforest and wildlife habitat and in return how it benefits the surrounding communities.

She said that from 2021-22, the Southern Cardamom REDD+ Project contributed money for the construction of 43 water wells including the largest now in Kamlot village. Four roads have also been constructed, including a 7km stretch linking Bak Angrut to Pur Beung as well as three roads around Chi Phat commune.

“These roads and wells support local livelihoods by easing access to potable water, markets and essential public services like health and education. In total, these wells and roads benefit almost 8,000 people.

“Today is the official inauguration ceremony for this well and a celebration of livelihood support made possible by carbon offsets from 2021 to date,” she said.

Deputy provincial governor Sok Sothy said these roads and the well are infrastructure that have eased access to key markets and essential public services for communities and can provide an adequate amount of clean water locally.

“Such support through the Southern Cardamom REDD+ Project is experienced by thousands of people already and will be enjoyed by thousands more in the coming years,” Sothy said.