Truck time-out

Today, we were planning to go to the site to install more monitoring wells.  We had sent HT's truck in for repairs last night, planning to pick it up this morning; however, Chai called from the repair shop to let us know that the truck would not be finished until tomorrow morning.

Despite our missed site visit, we spent plenty of time doing research on farmer water user communities, and learned some new information on how we can set up our water user groups.

Monitoring Well Installation & Surveying

After the completion of the rip rap installation, the monitoring wells need to be installed to monitor the phreatic line at different distances along the embankment. Each well requires a 2"diameter PVC pipe, tape, cement and filter fabric.

On January 27th we went to the site to install one monitoring well and do some survey work to determine the cross section of the north embankment.

Using an auger Matt & Chai worked together to dig a hole approximately 25 meters south of the embankment and 4 meters deep. It takes a lot of effort to dig the hole so alternating diggers was key. As they worked, it became apparent that there was something stuck in the pipe; it turned out to be a frog! But they saved it.

The PVC pipe was wrapped with filter fabric and inserted in the hole then the space around the pipe was filled with sand. The top of the pipe is protruding from the ground. Concrete was poured around the well to keep it in place. A successful installation.

In the meantime Linda, Maria & Ceda surveyed from the watergate to the north embankment about 10 points using the measuring rod and level.

While we were there we studied the cracks just north of the dam. The largest seems to be 30 feet long from the edge of the dam and, using a make-shift plumb, it measured as much as 1'8" deep as seen below.

After about 4 hours the well was complete, and we reached the north embankment with our surveying. It was time to head back in time for Chai's class, just before sunset.


Boat Trip on the Mekong

Boats on the bank of the Tonle Sap River

Between our meetings in Phnom Penh, we found some time one evening to take a relaxing boat trip across the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers. There were some great views back on the city and delicious plates of Khmer cuisine!

Road Trip to Phnom Penh

L to R: Maria, Tobias, Matt, and Tony Bott

Over the weekend, EWB and HT traveled down to Phnom Penh for meetings with consultants and government officials who may be able to help with the next steps of our project. Tops on the list were conversations about the formation and legal registration of the Farmer Water User Community (FWUC), baseline assessment, and community mapping.

Our first meeting was with Mr. Mlob Bon, from Cambodia's national Department of Irrigated Agriculture. He led us through the FWUC registration process and offered his help in navigating the provincial bureaucracy when we officially register our water project.

Next, we met with Tony Bott, an Australian consultant who has a good deal of experience with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and was able to clarify many of our next steps toward FWUC registration, canal mapping and construction, and project assessment.

Maria and Erik

After this, we met with Erik Van Den Brink, who works for Catholic Relief Services in Cambodia and has several successful development projects in Cambodia under his belt. Erik articulated many of the proper techniques for FWUC registration, and also described some of the pitfalls to avoid with mapping and assessment. He pointed us toward some helpful resources for both the water user group establishment and the baseline / impact assessment.

Last, we met with Paul Gager from Aruna Technologies, a small GIS consultancy that has worked on many different projects: both government and non-government, agricultural and economic, and many others. Paul was helpful in describing our options for mapping and GIS, andgave us options for building maps for FWUC registration and assessments.

All in all, a very successful trip!


Watergate Model

For those of you that were able to attend the Milestone Gala held in September of last year, you will recognize the subject of this photo! Our friends at HLD Workshop, an environmentally friendly furniture manufacturer based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, constructed this amazing model and donated it for display at the Gala. The model was a hit, and was the topic of many conversations that night!

We'd like to thank HLD once again for their detailed (and speedy, might I add) work putting this model together. Check out their blog for more info!


Before & After

before construction

after construction

after water

New Year, New Lead

l-r: jess miller, wiL
As the design and construction phase of the south canals reaches its near, and the next phase of impact assessment begins, we reach a good transition point in this project for some fresh perspective and approaches. It is thus with a privilege for me to announce our new project lead, Jess Miller, who have graciously accepted this challenge.
Please join me in welcoming and congratulating Jess to her new position by raising your next glass of Angkor!


One Star Turn Revisited

Last spring we ran into an problem regarding land ownership when we were planning out the downstream route. This problem caused the One Star Turn as shown in the photo above. However, by the time we resolved the land ownership issue we did not have the resources to fully excavate the path. complete the side walls and armor the soil at the turn so we knew we would have to finish this work during the final phase of construction.

Here is the path during our last trip.

And here is the path this week. Chai and the crew on site widened the path, enlarged the side walls and armored the turn. We still have a few more items to finish out there but Chai did a great job getting this one done quickly.