About Your Donation

100% of your donation
funds water projects.

Private donors fund our operating costs so you don’t have to. 100% of your donation will be used to directly fund water project costs on the ground. All donations are fully tax-deductible.


Hand-dug and drilled wells are two of the most common solutions we fund, but it’s possible your donation will be matched to a different technology at a similar cost and impact on the community.

projects this month.

Get in touch to learn about the specific countries we're working in this month, and how your gift can sponsor some of our most critical needs. Email us or call 646.688.2323


It takes 18 months of careful planning and community training to make a water project successful. This timeline begins when your funds are sent to the field.

18 month progess timeline
At six months, we'll send you an
update to let you know more about
the country your money was sent to.
At twelve months, we'll send you a
mid-term update about the work on the ground and the progress towards completion.
When your water project is complete, we'll send you a report with GPS coordinates, photos and population of the exact community you helped.

You’ll receive two progress updates along the way,
and a completion report when the project is finished.

What it looks like

We fund a variety of different water solutions depending on water
availability, culture, and economic conditions. Here’s what they look like:


A drilling team drills deep into the earth to reach fresh aquifers.


Skilled laborers dig up to 15 meters by hand to
reach aquifers below.


A system captures and safely stores pure water from a natural spring.


Gutters on rooftops direct the flow of rainfall into a sanitary holding tank.


Layers of sand and micro bacterial film inside remove contaminants.


A team repairs broken projects to restore clean water to a community.


Sanitation and Hygiene

Access to clean water promotes handwashing. Washing your hands is the best way to prevent water related diseases.


80% of diseases in the world are waterborne and preventable with clean water and improved sanitation.


Millions of kids spend their days collecting water for their families or home sick with a water-related illness instead of going to school.

Women Empowerment

Women are twice as likely to walk for water. Water projects nearby can save time, and give women freedom and opportunity.

Food Security

Self-sufficient families can use water sources nearby to cook safely, clean their eating utensils and water their own gardens.

Economic Development

Every $1 invested in improved water access and sanitation yields $12 in economic returns, depending on the project.


What am I paying for when I sponsor a water project?

100% of your money goes to water project costs on the ground. Private donors cover the salaries of our staff in New York so your money can go directly to the following costs (breakdown can vary by country, partner, and technology):

  • 50% for materials: cement, pipes, pumps, construction supplies, training materials.
  • 20% for local staff costs: drillers, welders, well technicians and hydrogeologists.
  • 10% for mobilization: fuel, vehicles, lodging for drill crews in remote areas.
  • 20% for in-country program support: accountants, drivers, computers, internet.

If you sponsor a water project at a school, we may use a portion of your money to build latrines in addition to the water project. Latrines are crucial to reducing water-related diseases, especially at schools or health clinics where populations are more dense.

What's included in my report?

When your project is built and we receive completion data from our partners (about 18 months), we assemble and send you a report with the following information:

  • Photos of the actual project
  • A virtual plaque plotted on Google Maps
  • Type of water project technology used
  • GPS coordinates
  • Population served
  • Previous water source info (if available)
Why does it take 18 months to get my completion report?

Building water and sanitation projects is a time-consuming business. We allow 18 months because we don't consider a project “complete” until we know that all of its components are in place and working for the best of the community. That includes community participation and training, as well as collecting photos, GPS coordinates and other details from each project. We require detailed data about each project from our partner organizations and verify it at charity: water headquarters to make sure there are no mistakes. Only then do we assemble your completion report. See above for a timeline of what happens in 18 months.

Can I pick the country where my donation goes?

Each quarter, we have specific water project opportunities available in a variety of countries. Get in touch to learn about the specific countries we're working in this month, and how your gift can sponsor some of our most urgent needs.

If you donate online directly, we will decide where your money will go to make the greatest impact. Our water programs team chooses which countries to work in based on need, and forms long-term partnerships with on-the-ground organizations. If you'd like to talk about where we work before you give online, email us!

What can go wrong?

charity: water works in some of the poorest and most challenging countries in the world because that's where the need is greatest. Naturally, despite our best efforts to meet your and our expectations, forces beyond our control occasionally require a change of plans. The list of uncertainties we've encountered is long: governments collapse, policies change, roads get washed out, pipes break, wells come up dry and community needs change.

No matter what happens, we promise that 100% of your donation will directly fund water project costs. In addition to updating you about our progress, we'll inform you if the location of your sponsored project has to change. In the unlikely event that we need to totally reallocate your funds, we'll put them toward projects substantially similar to the one you chose to support in the first place. If we absolutely cannot find a suitable project in the country you had hoped to help, we'll work with you to find an alternative country.

How much is the community involved in building a charity: water project?

As much as possible. We don’t consider our projects “complete” until the community receiving them is engaged and empowered to care for them.

Where possible, our partners enlist local community members to help dig wells, construct filters, build ditches for piping or help out with any other construction tasks. Our maintenance models for each project reflect the community. Often, this means our partners train a local Water Committee to collect fees to maintain their projects.

We believe in water as a catalyst for social change. Our partners try to make sure the underserved or minority members of a community are represented and served by our water projects.

Has the cost of sponsoring a project increased?

Yes. When we started in 2006, we only funded hand-dug wells that cost around $5,000. We’ve since expanded to more geographies and technologies, from $70 BioSand filters to $250,000 piped water systems. In regions where water is deeper underground and harder to reach, drilled wells are needed, and they typically cost $10,000 or more. Drilled wells are more expensive than hand-dug wells because they require rigs, drilling teams, and more materials.

Even for hand-dug wells, the cost for a typical project has increased to around $6,000. This is primarily due to (1) inflation and (2) the fact that we’re funding more than just the raw costs of building a project. We've learned that funding sanitation and hygiene training in communities increases the health benefits and leads to longer-lasting projects. Thus, we're investing more of your funds into training communities about the importance of building latrines, which reduce the amount of water contamination, and hand-washing practices, which reduce communicable diseases.

How does charity: water determine the cost of sponsoring a project?

Each quarter, our partners submit grants with specific project costs, and our programs finance team examines these closely to ensure they are accurate and reasonable. Project costs can vary greatly depending on technology, country, and partner organization, but they form clusters. Based on analysis of costs in previous and upcoming grants, we've determined that $6,000 is most representative of a typical hand-dug well, and $10,000+ is most typical of a drilled well in countries we're working in.

Not every hand-dug well costs exactly $6,000 or drilled well exactly $10,000. We will match your donation to a project that’s closest in cost, and 100% of your money will go towards water projects in the field. For example, if you donate $10,000 for a drilled well, but it ends up costing $9,200, the extra $800 will go towards another charity: water project. If the project cost ends up at $10,800, funds from other charity: water donors will cover the remainder, but you will still be recognized as the project sponsor.


When projects are complete, we prove every one with photos
and GPS coordinates on Google Maps.