Sustainable access to drinking water in rural areas

In Cambodia, the 1001fontaines association is developing water kiosks for rural populations.

To be much more than a simple drop of water, that is certainly the ambition of the founders of the 1001fontaines pour demain association. Their credo is to promote the installation of autonomous drinking water production stations combining UV filtration and solar energy. This project is complemented by the creation of local micro-businesses (families becoming small private operators), responsible for producing and selling this water at very low prices.

Its target? Cambodia's rural population, the majority of whom have no access to drinking water. The inhabitants of isolated villages often have no water or energy supply infrastructure. Several hundred thousand people still consume untreated surface water or water from unprotected wells.

A first phase in Bantey Chmar, Sisophon and Preah Netr Preah

The first unit has been installed in Bantey Chmar, a village of around a thousand families in north-west Cambodia. Nine months after the project began, almost one family in five has already opted for water treated by the new private operator. Priced at around 0.17 euros per 20-liter cylinder, the purified water has won over around 800 people on a regular basis, despite the drain on their budgets. A second station has been set up in Sisophon, a few kilometers from Bantey Chmar, at a children's home run for many years by the Enfants du Mékong association, and a third at the Preah Netr Preah hospital.

Following its initial success, 1001fontaines decided in 2006 to extend the system to 15,000 new beneficiaries in eight new villages. In 15 years, it has installed 260 water treatment units and as many "water kiosks", and estimates the number of beneficiaries at 800,000.

Large-scale spin-off

From 2020 onwards, the Veolia Foundation will be renewing its support for 1001fontaines, which is raising its standards by focusing on the decarbonization of the entire drinking water treatment chain and maintenance processes. Innovations at the stations, the fruit of work carried out with French companies Tergys and GREENCITYZEN, will increase volumes produced, improve drinking water quality and integrate digital monitoring.

This 2021-2023 collaboration should provide over 100,000 people with access to drinking water and reduce CO2 emissions by 27,350 tonnes over ten years. The French Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Recovery is also supporting the project via an envelope from Fasep (Fonds d'études et d'aide au secteur privé to finance feasibility studies or the demonstration of innovative green technologies).

Humanitarian and Development

  • Place:
  • Sponsors:
    Paul de Rosen, Thierry Vandevelde
  • Grants:
    30,000 € to the 2004/09/28 Selection Committee
    50,000 € to the 18/06/2012 Board of Directors
    10,000 € to the 22/11/2021 Board of Directors
    2,000 $ from Veolia Water Technologies Asia-Pacific on behalf of their customers (february 2024)
  • Project leader:

More about the ten new water kiosks inaugurated in Cambodia on november 2023.

A Veolia, Accenture and Danone Communities strategic partnership with 1001fontaines

In February 2021, the Veolia group signs a strategic partnership with the NGO 1001fontaines, Accenture and Danone Communities. The aim: to support 1001fontaines in structuring a sustainable, viable business model that can be replicated in new geographies. Veolia is providing technical support by mobilizing its expertise in social engineering, its research and development teams specialized in water treatment, and the Veolia Foundation for its knowledge of decentralized water treatment in an emergency context. A new kiosk model, more efficient and carbon-neutral in terms of water production, saw the light of day a few months later.

Veolia is also the lead partner in this Fasep-funded project. The inauguration of these kiosks, designed with Tergys and GREENCITYZEN, will take place in November 2023 in Cambodia in the presence of all the technical and operational partners – Teuk Saat1001, 1001fontaines, Tergys, GREENCITYZEN, Veolia, the Foundation – as well as the Economic Service of the Embassy and the Ministry of Rural Development in Cambodia.

Find out more about the partners involved, the involvement of Veolia, the Veolia Foundation and the work carried out by 1001fontaines: