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Water comes from the pipes. It may t seem an overly simplified and misinformed take on our most precious liquid. But that is exactly the thought of at least one primary school student studying at the foot of Phnom Kulen, the source of some of Cambodia’s purest mineral water.

While the boy is misguided, he demonstrates the point that we humans need to be more aware, particularly from childhood, of the source, scarcity and importance of water. As well as the human impacts that can - and do - effect its presence and availability. The primary one being deforestation.

Ten years of Studying Cambodia’s Temperatures

Rain and weather moves in cycles, as studied by Jacques Marcille, a former oceanographer and doctor of biology that came to Cambodia in 2009. He began watching the evolution of the climate, weather and rain patterns here. It’s of particular interest to him, as the chief executive of Kulara Water, which bottles Kulen mineral water for sale throughout the country. But education on the evolution of weather patterns is now more important than ever, as the youth of today become the guardians of the future.

A Short Relief from the Heat

Tropical Cambodia enjoyed a brief respite from soaring temperatures. Average temperatures in 2017 and 2018 average slipped back to the more bearable times of 2009 and 2010. In between, average temperatures had skyrocketed, topping out at 41 degrees Celsius from 2014 through to early 2016. But, in case you hadn’t noticed, the respite is over, with the 2019 dry season producing some of the hottest temperatures on record, leading to the revolving, city-wide power cuts that are derailing our days.

The Importance of Education on Climate Change

Marcille delivers no sermons on climate change or predictive models – but he does say that it is necessary to act now to reverse the current heating trend. The drought that Cambodia’s farmers now face is directly linked to the massive deforestation that the country has seen. Across the fertile, northern plains that cover large parts of Preah Vihear and Stung Treng, more than a third of the annual average rainfall has been lost over ten years, statistics show.

environmental awareness

“Water comes from the pipes” might make you smile, but it is a warning that our next generations need more education. As such, Kulara Water began a reforestation program in 2018. They plan to have at least 7,200 new trees in the ground by July. They will reintroduce wild bees, which will help to spread plant life and attract more animal life to the sanctuary. And about 400 students from three primary schools in Phnom Kulen are coming along for the ride, so at least they will know where their precious water really comes from.

Text by Nimith Chheng for Cambodge Mag. Read the original article here.