Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Geography, Environment and Planning

Major Professor

Fenda A. Akiwumi


Arsenic, Cambodia, Dry season rice, Irrigation project, Sustainable Livelihoods, Water Quality


This study examines potential livelihood outcomes from a recently established irrigation project in Ta Haen, Cambodia, in a sustainable livelihoods framework. The aim of this SAUCE irrigation project is to provide water for drinking and irrigation purposes with the goal of enhancing food by producing an extra rice harvest, the staple, per year. Field research conducted in December 2011 provided qualitative data from questionnaires, key informant interviews, and participant and direct observation, in addition to quantitative data from water quality analysis focusing on arsenic (a potential risk), pH, EC and temperature. Most of the people in the village did not obtain an extra rice harvest in this first year of the project. However, they did plant other crops along the Ta Haen riverbanks. Average arsenic concentration was 32 ppb, above WHO guideline value (10 ppb). However, dose response data is uncertain at levels below 50 ppb, which makes river water use acceptable given that this is a major water source for the community. Preliminary results suggest that project sustainability and positive livelihood outcomes depend upon improving overall agricultural and water management practices by addressing quality issues, rationing water, and removing invasive water hyacinths that affect water quantity.