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The current situation

The Current Situation

The drinking water situation in the rural areas of North-Eastern Thailand. North-Eastern Thailand is called the Isan and it is the poorest area of Thailand. Farmers make up the greatest proportion of the population, and the outstretched fields are used for growing rice, cassava, cane, Eucalyptus trees, etc.
The people living in this region and in other parts of Thailand have always been dependent on rainwater as their primary source of water.
Nearly every house has one or more so called “Thai jars”, into which rain is collected during the 6-month long rain season.

          

This water is primarily used as drinking water. The lack of enormous industrial sites in the rural areas makes rainwater the best source of drinking water.
Roofs and drainpipes lead the water to the receiving tanks. However, the water starts becoming contaminated from the materials such as bird, reptiles, rat and cat feces. In order to have water during the 6 months in the year in which it doesn’t or rarely rains, water needs to be stored in the tanks for a long period of time.
Animals such as lizards and birds drown in the tanks frequently, and begin to decompose in the tanks with the help of bacteria. Furthermore, the tanks are a nesting pot for mosquitoes and other pests.

          

The situation in the schools is exactly the same, only with much larger receiving tanks. The quality of the water in the tanks worsens with time and the pathogenic bacteria keep reproducing. Treatment with special filters that prioritizes in killing pathogenic bacteria is an important necessity in order to turn this water into clean and safe drinking water. More about this can be found on the page “Rainwater> filter technique”. It can also be that a school asks us to install a water treatment plant, but that the school does not have enough storage capacity available to store the rainwater.

          

Up until now these use the unfiltered rainwater as drinking water in the dry season. After that, a big tanker truck pumps the tanks full with water from a pond in a rice field, or people start drinking tap water originating from a pond, or tap water that has been pumped from a shallow ground source. In both cases the water is not or barely purified and contains a lot of pathogenic bacteria and chemicals. Some villages add chlorine to the tap water, which is highly dangerous for peoples health. More information on this can be found on the page “sourcewater”.

          

The large water tanks are often in a bad state and poorly maintained. Usually they aren’t shut completely or are missing a lid entirely, making it easier for filth to end up in the tanks. Dead lizards, mosquito larvae, frogs, rats, and other animals are often found, as well as other filth such as leaves of trees. Rats, cats, birds and other animals drop their feces on the roofs. In the rain months, everything washes straight into the receiver tanks, in which everything brews during the hot months. On the bottom of receiver and

storage tanks is a small tap from which the children directly drink the unfiltered water. Tests have shown that the water contains coliform bacteria such as E. Coli. The schools where HOAT has placed water filters report a much lower sickness absence than before.

          

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