Best Water Charities Helping The Global Water Crisis

We all need access to clean and safe water. No matter if it’s for bathing, cooking, or drinking, water plays a critical role in all of our lives. Few think about how we need clean and safe water to grow food, hydrate livestock, and operate machinery.

Nearly one-quarter of our world’s population suffers from the global water crisis. That means as much as 10 percent of people in communities across the globe don’t have access to clean water. Data further indicates that 17 countries suffer from the highest baseline water stress levels, with 44 other countries at critically high levels.

Many Americans take water for granted, but the incredible thing is that organizations throughout the United States are trying to help. 

In this guide, we outline the best water charities people can donate to helping with the global water crisis.

Best Water Charities Helping Global Water Crisis

About Charity: Water

  • Founder: Scott Harrison
  • Mission: Since 2006, the non-profit organization charity: water’s global mission has been to bring clean and safe drinking water to people living in underdeveloped countries. 
  • Team Size: 79 employees 
  • Company Location: 40 Worth Street, Suite 829, New York, NY 10013

How charity: water Accomplishes Their Mission

The company accomplishes its mission to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in underdeveloped countries by working with local partners. That way, they can receive funding for hygiene (WASH), sanitation, and water programs for rural communities across the globe. 

Their approach for accomplishing their mission involves three phases:

    • Planning: After determining an area’s assessment of need, community participation, geography, and long-term sustainability, charity: water’s local partners select water point locations.
    • Implementation: Along with spending time on the construction process, the company’s local partners also spend many months building a water committee to manage the projects, establishing community buy-in, and promoting safe hygiene practices. 
    • Post-implementation: charity: water wants to ensure water continues flowing for years after construction. So, they collect data on specific WASH indicators, empower local leaders, implement innovative sensor technology, and use robust maintenance and operations structures.

charity: water’s Impact 

charity: water has funded nearly 60,000 water projects. That number represents every water project the company funded. That figure is also a combination of projects under construction and those that are complete. 

As a result of these water projects, the company has served nearly 12,000,000 people in 29 countries

From the beginning, charity: water has shared GPS coordinates and photographs for every one of their water projects to prove the company’s impact. 

World Locations charity: water Focuses On

Because political stability, poverty, and water scarcity influences where charity: water plans their projects and implements them, they have a global focus. That includes countries like Africa, Asia, Central America, and South America. More specifically, they focus their effort on the following countries:

  • Bangladesh
  • Bolivia
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cambodia
  • The central African Republic
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Ethiopia
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Keny
  • Liberia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mozambique
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Pakistan
  • Rwanda
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda

charity: water’s Level of Transparency 

The company prides itself on being an “open book.” That means charity: water posts financials from their annual reports, audit reports, 100% model audits, and form 990s annually. When you visit their site, you’ll find reports dating back to 2006, when the company launched.

charity: water also understands that donors want the company to use those funds effectively. So, they work hard to receive the highest accounting and transparency ratings possible. Examples of such ratings include:

About Water.org

    • Founders: Gary White and Matt Damon
    • Mission: Water.org believes that breaking the cycle of poverty, making bright futures possible, and protecting and saving lives starts with clean and safe drinking water.
    • Team Size: Over 100 across the globe
    • Company Location: 117 West 20th Street, Suite 203, Kansas City, MO 64108

How Water.org Accomplishes Their Mission

The company strives to collaborate with others to create accessible and affordable funding opportunities for those in need faster. That involves spurring changes in the system at every level—locally, nationally, and globally. Water.org increases access to financing by integrating approaches, ideas, and partners to ensure financial help flows to individuals who need it the most. They achieve this goal in many ways:

  • Partnering with institutions serving the base of the economic pyramid
  • Accelerating access by expanding partnerships
  • Providing water and sanitation solutions at a systems level by strengthening the environment
  • Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6
  • Changing lives by accelerating impact

Water.org’s Impact 

Since its launch twenty-five years ago, Water.org has changed 31 million lives with sanitation or safe water in thirteen countries on four continents. That includes eight million people receiving safe water and sanitation since 2019. 

The company focuses on providing safe and affordable drinking water to those in need, particularly those who earn under $3.20 daily and must spend a significant portion of their earnings on water.

World Location Water.org Focuses On

While Water.org works in thirteen countries worldwide, they realize they must continue scaling for growth as the need for safe water and sanitation increases.  The countries they operate in include the following:

  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Bangladesh
  • Cambodia
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines
  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Peru

Water.org’s Level of Transparency 

There’s a significant amount of financial information available on the company’s website. There, you can see annual reports, audited financials, and tax returns (Form 990) dating back to 2008. Taking steps to provide this information helps Water.org maintain a 100% accountability and transparency rating from Charity Navigator for ten consecutive years. 

Water.org works hard to practice donor stewardship, ethical accounting, and transparency. As a result of their on-going work to help millions receive safe drinking water, the company has received the following accolades:

About Water Aid

    • Founders: David Knnersley 
    • Mission: Water Aid’s mission is to ensure the world’s most impoverished communities have access to clean water, hygiene, and sanitation.
    • Team Size: Over 1,000 globally
    • Company Locations: WaterAid – US, WaterAid America Inc., 233 Broadway, Suite 2705, New York, NY, 10279, USA; WaterAid Nicaragua, Reparto San Juan, Calle el Carmen, de la UNIVAL ½ c. al Sur, Casa No. 523, Managua, Nicaragua; WaterAid Colombia, Calle 2, #9-92, Riohacha, La Guajira, Colombia

How Water Aid Accomplishes Their Mission

This charity accomplishes this goal by tapping into groundwater, drilling wells, and harvesting rainwater. That way, they can bring clean water to where people live, go to school, and work. Water Aid prides itself on the promise it makes to its donors. 

That promise includes reinvesting $.80 from every $1.00 donation into transforming lives with clean water, hygiene, and sanitation. The remaining $.20 from every $1.00 divides into $.12 for fundraising and $.08 for administration.

Water Aid’s Impact

Since the charity’s launch in 1981, it’s helped 26.4 million people receive clean water, hygiene, and sanitation in 34 countries in six regions worldwide. Because they have those three, that means that these people can lead dignified lives. 

World Location Water Aid Focuses On

This charity has teams working in 34 countries toward changing the lives of millions annually with clean drinking water, hygiene, and sanitation.  Those regions include the following:

  • East Africa: Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda
  • South Africa: Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia
  • West Africa: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone
  • The Americas: Canada, Colombia, Nicaragua, United States
  • Asia and Pacific: Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste
  • Europe: Sweden, United Kingdom

Water Aid’s Level of Transparency 

It’s vital to have clean water for everyone no matter where they’re living, and Water Aid believes they are closer to achieving that goal than ever before. This charity makes all of its financial information and annual reports available on Google. If you want to see their most recent reports, you can visit their website’s annual reports page. 

The information they provide on these pages has earned them the Guidestar Platinum Seal of Transparency for 2020.

About Splash

    • Founder: Eric Stowe
    • Mission: With its focus mainly on children, Splash works to ensure impoverished communities experience improvements to their hygiene (WASH), menstrual health, sanitation, and water conditions.
    • Team Size: Approximately 100 globally 
    • Company Location: 1326 Fifth Avenue, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98101

How Splash Accomplishes Their Mission 

Splash accomplishes its mission by deploying commercial ultra-filtration water systems. A US company, Antunes, manufactures these systems, which are the most durable, highest flow-rate, and lowest maintenance the charity has ever seen. By installing these water filtration systems, the company meets all WHO guidelines for drinking water quality by removing 99.9999% of water’s bacteria and viruses.

Splash’s Impact

Since 2007, this charity has supported over 436,000 children in hospitals, orphanages, shelters, and schools.  Splash has incorporated water filtration technology, safe water drinking stations, rainwater harvesting, service and maintenance, storage tanks, and local supply chains to nearly 2,000 locations worldwide. 

World Location Splash Focuses On 

Splash focuses its efforts in eight countries, including:

  • Nepal
  • China
  • India
  • Ethiopia
  • Cambodia
  • Bangladesh
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Splash’s Level of Transparency 

In addition to finding a copy of their annual report and 501c3 letter, Splash makes sure you have access to all of their financial records, including audit reports and tax forms (Form 990). These financial reports dating back to 2015. This charity has many funding partners, including Alwaleed Philanthropies Foundation, Antunes, Autodesk, and Blue Bottle Coffee. 

About Blood: Water

  • Founders: Award-winning band, Jars of Clay and activist Jena Lee Nardella
  • Mission: This company collaborates with grassroots organizations in Africa to address the AIDS/HIV and water crises.
  • Team Size: 22
  • Company Location: P.O. box 60381, Nashville, TN 37206

How Blood: Water Accomplishes Their Mission

Blood: Water accomplishes its mission to address the AIDS/HIV and water crises using the WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) approach. Examples of water solutions include house-level filtration and treatment, hand pumps, mechanized wells, rain catchment systems, spring protection, and surface catchment. These projects are the most successful when local leaders from communities take ownership and leadership of them. 

Blood: Water’s Impact 

According to Blood: Water’s 2019 annual report, they’ve reached nearly 13,000 people with clean water and established over 6,000 hygiene and sanitation stations. This report further indicates that almost 200 new or rehabilitated water points were established, including filtration systems, wells, and more. That means, during 2019, Blood: Water provided water, sanitation, and hygiene to nearly 66,000 individuals.

World Location Blood: Water Focuses On 

Blood: Water focuses its efforts on communities within Africa. The company facilitates real change by partnering with hidden heroes within these communities already working with cultural and community knowledge. 

Blood: Water’s Level of Transparency 

Because integrity and responsibility are the core of Blood: Water’s values, they take financial stewardship seriously. When visiting their financials page, you can find copies of their annual reports, Form 990, and financial statements dating back to 2009. Their commitment to transparency has earned them several accolades, including:

About Water for People

    • Founders: American Water Works Association (AWWA)
    • Mission: Water for People’s mission is to promote developing high-quality water and sanitation services that everyone can access that are sustained by strong businesses, communities, and governments.
    • Team Size: Over 40 worldwide
    • Company Location: 100 E Tennessee Ave., Denver, CO 80209

How Water for People Accomplishes Their Mission

Accomplishing their mission to provide water for everyone forever involves following three short-term goals in a strategic plan

  • Proof: This charity’s goal is to prove that their “Everyone Forever” model is the answer to the global water crisis.
  • Global leadership: Water for People is partnering with civil society, governments, and more in the water sector to share their good and bad experiences.
  • Scale: Expanding beyond the 40 districts the charity currently works in means advising businesses, governments, and partners to create national policies and systems to scale sustainable sanitation and water services to millions of people in need.

Water for People’s Impact 

Since its launch, Water for People has reached 3.6 million people. Their data further indicates that there are 1.3 million people with sanitation services, 3,913 community interventions, 2,436 permanent jobs created through their work, 1,583 social interventions, and 164 clinic interventions.

World Location Water for People Focuses On 

Even though Water for People has worked in over 40 countries globally, they find that working within targeted locations is more efficient and effective. This charity currently operates in nine countries worldwide, including the following:

  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Bolivia
  • Peru
  • Malawi
  • Rwanda
  • Uganda
  • India

Water for People’s Level of Transparency

This company’s approach to transparency is unique in that they have a calculator on their website showing how they multiply a donor’s impact. For example, if you donate $40, that investment multiplies to $429.80. Here’s how:

  • You start with a $40 investment.
  • That $40 is leveraged with co-investment from local communities and governments.
  • That co-investment creates a $61.40 investment in sanitation and water.
  • That $61.40 multiplies by seven times because women save time, and children can stay in school.
  • That results in your $40 investment turning into $429.80

Scroll down on the financials page, and you can find copies of audited financial reports, annual reports, Form 990, Federal 501(c)(3), and 2019 Behind the Numbers. This transparency earned them a four-star rating from Charity Navigator for seventeen consecutive years.

About Life Water

  • Founder: Bill Ashe
  • Mission: Life Water is a group of Christians committed to ending the global sanitation and water crisis one village at a time.
  • Team Size: Under 200 worldwide
  • Company Location: 4420 Broad St, Ste B, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 and 314 S. Main Street, Bentonville, AR 72712

How Life Water Accomplishes Their Mission

Life Water accomplishes its mission using an approach called “Vision of a Healthy Village.” That means this charity believes change happens when donors, local communities, and their staff join together. Their process involves: 

  • Selecting regions
  • Completing district-wide planning and engineering
  • Forming ministry partnerships
  • Conducting WASH training
  • Creating healthy homes
  • Facilitating community contribution
  • Obtaining ODF verification
  • Completing safe water construction
  • Following up with sustainability and maintenance

Life Water’s Impact 

Since 2016, Life Water has created 351 healthy villages, which breaks down to 4,765 healthy villagers in Uganda and 328 healthy villagers in Ethiopia. 

World Location Life Water Focuses On 

Life Water focuses its efforts in East Africa and Southeast Asia—one village at a time. They also have water projects occurring in Ethiopia, Uganda, Cambodia, and Tanzania. This charity’s sustainability rate is 98%, which means 98% of the water sources they created produce abundant and safe water today.

Life Water’s Level of Transparency

When you visit Life Water’s financials page, you can find annual reports, Form 990, and independent audits dating back to 2017.  That page also outlines where your donations go—80% to programs, 10% to fundraising, and 10% to administrative costs. The company’s commitment to transparency has earned them the following accolades:

About Drop in the Bucket

How Drop in the Bucket Accomplishes Mission

Drop in the Bucket approaches accomplishing its mission by building sanitation systems and wells at schools, educating communities about the importance of clean hands, living spaces, and water, and empowers children—especially girls—to get an education at school instead of carrying water. With 64 wells drilled during 2018 alone, they focus their expenditures in the following ways:

  • Program expenses: 82.6%
  • Meetings: 0.3%
  • Advertising: 0.2%
  • Contract services: 1.5%
  • General expenses: 15.4%

Drop in the Bucket’s Impact 

Over the past 15 years, Drop in the Bucket has completed more than 400 well drilling projects.

World Location Drop in the Bucket Focuses On 

Drop in the Bucket focuses its efforts on drilling wells in the sub-Saharan area of Africa. 

Drop in the Bucket’s Level of Transparency

Even though their financials aren’t viewable online, this charity is transparent about where all their donations are going and how they spend money. If you have questions about how the company uses the funds they receive, they encourage emails. 

About Water for Good

  • Founders: Jim Hocking
  • Mission: Water for Good’s mission is to tackle the water crisis in one of the world’s most forgotten countries—Africa.
  • Team Size: Under 100
  • Company Location: 9511 Angola Court, Suite 257, Indianapolis, IN 46268

How Water for Good Accomplishes Mission 

Accomplishing their mission involves a two-step process:

  • Step one: Reaching everyone in a single region by 2020
  • Step two: Scale for full-country coverage by 2030

Each time someone donates $5 to this charity, it provides at least one year of clean water to one person living in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Water for Good’s Impact 

During 2020, the company had 103 new or in-progress wells, there were 3,346 service visits to pumps, maintenance teams traveled 50,996 miles, and 1,402 communities received help. Water for Good makes maintenance a priority and, in doing so, 95% of their water projects are working.

World Location Water for Good Focuses On

Water for Good focuses its efforts in the Central African Republic (CAR). This charity’s goals are to work through local people and build sustainability.

Water for Good’s Level of Transparency 

Visiting the company’s financials page provides you with information about their audited financials, annual reports, and Form 990s. These reports date back to 2014 for the annual reports, 2010 for Form 990s, and between 2010 and 2012 and 2016 and 2019 for audited financials. This transparency has earned them a four-star rating from Charity Navigator and the Guidestar Platinum Seal of Transparency for 2020.

Conclusion

When people have access to clean water, that’s life-changing. Not only is it a stepping stone for community development but also living a healthier life. That includes practicing better hygiene and sanitation. In particular, children have a better chance of going to school when they have easy access to clean and safe water.

Parents can put aside water-related worries, including a lack of access or the diseases present. Instead, they can focus their energy on watering crops and livestock. Because water provides more ways for people to diversify their incomes, communities have more opportunities to develop and thrive.

The ultimate goal is ensuring communities demand and value clean and safe water, decent sanitation, and hygienic environments. The best water charities are working in the front line to battle this global water crisis. 

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