from the field: household BioSand Filters in rural Cambodia.

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The charity: water team was in Cambodia this week with local partners Samaritan’s Purse Canada and Hagar Cambodia. Last year, we funded 1,900 BioSand Filters serving 12,000 people and this week, we got to know the program and visited the families who benefited from the project.

I got to photograph the charity: water projects in Cambodia this week, and am really excited about the work here. Most of the projects charity: water funds around the world deliver clean water at the community level. Deep and shallow wells, spring protections, rainwater catchment systems, etc.

In rural Cambodia, we’ve got a different approach. Water is abundant here, but rarely clean. We always look to find the most appropriate technology to solve water problems, and here we’ve found that’s the household BioSand Filter (BSF) which can serve a family of up to 10 people.

Here’s how it works:

A big 175-pound concrete box holds fine sand, gravel and rock, and a biological layer of good bacteria is formed that eats 99% of the contaminants as dirty water is poured in the top of the unit. My favorite thing about this program is the personal ownership the families take in the project. The construction is done by family members, and they must also contribute $4 towards the cost.

It costs charity: water $65 to equip a family with a BSF, and we’re looking to grow our impact in 2010 by serving at least 5,000 Cambodian families.

– Scott Harrison

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