Water strategy spreads into Thailand
Like many countries in Asia, increasing population, and economic, agricultural and industrial expansion in Thailand are the major causes of the deterioration of water quality in various water sources. High loading of pollutants from human activities beyond the water-resource-carrying capacity has contributed to degradation of water quality throughout the country.1
As a result, most Thai people are at a health risk due to the poor quality of drinking water. Approximately 43 million are drinking contaminated water. This, along with poor sanitation and insufficient hygiene, contributes to the spread of serious diseases such as helminthes, diarrhea, dysentery and typhoid.
The northeastern part of the country, which occupies one-third of the country’s total land area, is the most populous and lowest income region. Although Thailand is considered to be economically relatively advanced among developing countries, rural people are still poor, earning between $3 to $5 a day working in the fields (when there is work). Sources say that there is about a six-fold difference in average per capita income between the citizens of Bangkok and the rural areas.2
Since this northeastern area is considered mostly rural, most people don’t have resources to purchase bottled water at $0.25 for approximately 15 liters.
Due to this need, in November 2011, GAiN drilled their first water well in the village of Nong Kung, which is in the northeastern part of Thailand.
As a result, 5,000 people from across four villages now have access to disease-free water. The well is 48 meters deep, with a six-meter tower and two 2,500 liter water tanks.
At the end of November, Dennis Fierbach, Director of Water Strategies, and Bill Blaney, CEO & Executive Director of GAiN Canada, attended the well dedication.
The head chief overseeing the four villages gave a speech at the opening ceremony in which he shared how thankful he was for the well. He said that though he was a Buddhist, he saw that Christians loved to help people.
Wenei, a staff member from GAiN’s local partner, expressed how this water well was a great bridge for him to connect more deeply to the community.
Local ground water authorities in Karisin welcomed GAiN with open arms. The official in charge gave GAiN a long list of villages that they could assess as potential drilling sites.
For now, GAiN has committed to drill ten wells over the next six months. People will not only receive fresh, clean water and better health – but experience the love of God, in both word and deed.
“The strategy will be different than in Africa but there is no doubt that there is a real need that we can help meet,” comments Dennis.