A world of opportunity

Just a few months ago, members of charity: water’s Creative Team traveled to Sierra Leone. They saw people dip buckets into rivers the color of rust and unprotected wells full of murky gray water. They witnessed how water decided whether your stomach was settled or upset; whether your skin was clear or had a rash; whether you were healthy or sick.

Our priority in June is funding water projects in Sierra Leone through our local partner GOAL. However, the need for clean water crosses every border. Here are just a few of the countries where projects are available:

Sierra Leone

Local Partner: GOAL

Type of Solution: Community piped system with tap stands

Starting Cost: $14K

Estimated People Served: 292-350


Local Partner: Jal Bhagirathi Foundation

Type of Solution: Tankas (rainwater harvesting)

Starting Cost: $10K

Estimated People Served: 100-120


Local Partner: Helvetas

Type of Solution: Community piped system with tap stands

Starting Cost: $10K

Estimated People Served: 100-120


Local Partner: Helvetas

Type of Solution: Community well with hand pump

Starting Cost: $18K

Estimated People Served: 333-400

How water project sponsorship works

While building a water project is no simple task, we think sponsoring one should be. Here are three steps you can expect:


You make a donation

On average, projects start at $10,000 and can cost $25,000 or more depending on the location and project type.

Covered costs


We match you with a water project

A member of our team will be in touch to allocate your donation to an appropriate water project.

Example projects


You receive Progress Reports

The average water project takes 21+ months to complete. We’ll keep you updated along the way.

Reporting timeline

Looking to dive deeper into the details? Give this video a watch.

A tailored approach

No two communities are the same, and neither are their water solutions. That’s why our local partners carefully consider factors like geography, water availability, and culture before proposing the right solution.

Drilled wells

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

Learn More

Piped systems

Networks of pipes supply clean water to community, school, or household tap stands.

Learn More

BioSand Filters

Layers of sand, gravel, and biological film remove contaminants.

Learn More


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

Learn More

Rainwater harvesting

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

Learn More

Spring protections

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

Learn More

Reporting back

Sponsoring a water project is a major investment — and we want you to feel informed. From start to finish, the average project takes 21+ months to complete. You’ll receive two Progress Reports during that time as well as a Completion Report.


100% of your donation will be sent to our local partners in either January or July — when our implementation cycle begins. That means it may take several months for your donation to reach our partners. Once it’s received, however, they quickly get to work.


Our partners complete extensive research and prep work. They acquire permits and supplies, partner with local communities, train local caretakers, and begin water point construction.

You receive your first Progress Report!


Our partners continue construction work, collect midterm reports, and send us progress updates.


Our partners finish the construction and train local communities to use and maintain their water points.

You receive your second Progress Report!

12-15 MONTHS

Our partners collect photos and GPS coordinates of the completed projects and send us information about the specific communities served.


We verify final data from our partners and prepare Completion Reports.

Time to celebrate! You receive your Completion Report.

See an example report

We prove every project

Once completed, we'll show you the water project(s) you funded with photos and GPS coordinates. Your virtual recognition will be featured on our Completed Projects Map.

See Proof

Frequently asked questions

Why the 6:30 p.m. ET deadline on June 30th, 2023?

You must be a details person. We like people like you. The deadline is June 30 at 6:30 p.m. ET because we work on a biannual grant cycle. That means that twice a year (January and July), funding for the next round of grants is sent to our local partners. Any project set to begin construction in the second half of the year (July through August) needs to be fully funded by June 30 at 6:30 p.m. ET.

How does the match work?

Thanks to our friends at PCPartPicker, all water project sponsorships and one-time donations made on this page prior to June 30, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. ET will be matched up to $500,000 or while funds remain. There is no minimum or maximum donation amount to qualify for the match. 100% of your donation and the match will fund clean water.

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

Twice a year, our partners submit grants with specific project costs. Our Program Finance team closely examines these grants to ensure that they are accurate and reasonable. Project costs can vary greatly depending on technology, country, and partner organizations, but the majority of water projects are in the $10,000-$25,000 cost range.

Of course, water project costs are not usually a neatly rounded number. We promise, however, that 100% of your money will always go toward a water project. For example, if you donate $10,000 for a drilled well, but it ends up costing $9,200, the extra $800 will go toward another charity: water project. If the project cost ends up at $10,800, funds from other charity: water donors will cover the remainder. You will still be recognized as the project sponsor.

How do you choose which communities will receive a water project?

Each year, our local partners select the communities that will receive a water project. To make these decisions, they take factors like location, assessments of need, community engagement, presence of other organizations, and availability of spare parts or repair services into account. They also often work closely with the local government to identify target communities.

Can I choose where my donation goes?

If you sponsor a project before June 30 at 6:30 p.m. ET, a charity: water representative will share a list of available projects with you and help you select a location. After the deadline has passed, we will not promote specific projects. Not to worry, there are always plenty of water project opportunities in a variety of countries!

If you feel strongly about supporting a specific country or region, a member of our development team will be happy to walk you through these opportunities. Please know, however, that we are limited by the grants currently available.

Undesignated gifts will be sent to the country where your donation will make the greatest impact. These countries are selected by our experienced Water Programs team who works closely with our local partners to assess needs and opportunities.

How do you choose your local partners?

The Water Programs team identifies local partners via various WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) sector networks like Rural Water Supply Network, WASH Funders Forum, and other country-level networks and consortia. In addition, our Programs team often asks for referrals from existing partners. Once identified, our team meets with potential new partners and vets their programs and processes before formally bringing them on. We also make regular visits to our existing partners to ensure project quality and integrity.

Is the community involved in building a charity: water project?

In most programs, the community is engaged from the beginning. Our local partners prepare communities to receive a water point and often ask them to participate in some part of the construction process. For those who are able, that might look like carrying bags of cement mix, constructing BioSand Filters, or helping dig ditches for a piped system.

Our partners also typically form and train local water committees — a group of community members who are responsible for collecting water fees and maintaining the water point. Underserved or minority community members are intentionally represented on these committees.

Have you encountered challenges or delays in the past?

charity: water works in some of the most challenging environments in the world. Naturally, that means that 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, or community needs change.

No matter what happens, we promise that 100% of your donation will directly fund water project costs. In addition to progress updates, 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.

What’s included in progress reporting and why does it take 21+ months to get a Completion Report?

You’ll receive three reports throughout the 21+ month project implementation timeline. Both your first and second Progress Reports will share more information about our local partner, their programming, and their progress so far.

To set expectations, please know that your project will be part of a larger grant. Your first two reports will feature updates at the grant level. Information specific to your exact project — GPS coordinates, photos, and more — will be included in your Completion Report.

Your Completion Report is delivered to you as soon as your sponsored project is complete and all final data is received and verified. It will include the following information:

  • Community name
  • Type of water project technology used
  • GPS coordinates
  • Population served
  • Photos of the project, when available

We allow 21+ months for project implementation because we don't consider a project “complete” until we verify that all components are in place and working for the community. For example, we confirm that community trainings are complete, the water quality has been tested, and community surveys have been issued and collected. We also check the photos and GPS coordinates. All of this information is provided by our local partners and verified internally before assembling your Completion Report.

How long do water projects last?

Once a project is built, it belongs to the local community. Thanks to trainings throughout the implementation process, the community should be able to afford and manage most routine repairs. charity: water stays engaged so that if they do run into problems that are beyond their ability to address, some outside help can be arranged. Specific examples of various project life expectancies are below:

  • Drilled well with hand-pump: A drilled well, also known as a borehole, has an estimated lifespan of 20-50 years. The hand pump installed on the borehole can have a lifespan of up to 15 years when well maintained.charity: water works closely with our local partners to provide geophysical mapping of aquifers with adequate water supply. Skilled engineers on our partner staff also provide close technical oversight of drillers, ensuring use of the highest quality hand pump materials in areas where groundwater is corrosive. (For example, using stainless steel pipes instead of galvanized iron.) High-quality hardware is the first step in ensuring that a drilled well with a hand pump can achieve its maximum lifespan.

  • BioSand Filters: Concrete BSFs can last for more than 25 years. If properly installed and used, the sand and gravel do not have to be replaced. BSFs also require very little cleaning.

  • Piped systems: A piped water system with tap stands has an estimated lifespan of 10+ years when properly built and maintained. To extend a system’s lifespan, our local partners take geophysical characteristics and population growth into account. For example, population growth for the next 20 years is considered for new piped water systems. They are therefore designed to be easily expanded and extended. High-quality hardware also contributes to a system’s lifespan. Like hand pumps, most piped systems use a drilled borehole (or multiple) as their water source. Our partners are careful to use stainless steel pipes in environments with corrosive groundwater.Overall, if the system is built with high-quality materials and maintained well, piped systems have a strong likelihood of lasting beyond a decade.

Can I visit the project I funded?

While you’ll receive the GPS coordinates for your sponsored water project, many of these communities are in rural, hard-to-reach places. We rarely facilitate visits to individual projects, and we generally don’t encourage it. The primary reason is that donor trips require ample coordination with our local partners, which inevitably takes time away from building water projects.

However, in the spirit of transparency, we do occasionally coordinate international trips for members of The Well or Water Project Sponsors who have supported us for many years at a significant level.


Team member

If you have additional questions, please reach out. We’d love to tell you more about Water Project Sponsorship opportunities.

Giving as:

An individual or family?

Email Emma

A business or corporate foundation?

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Ready to change everything?

When a community, school, or health clinic receives access to clean water, everything changes. Health improves. Girls don’t miss school. Parents have time to earn extra income.

It is truly one of the best investments you can make. We hope you’ll make it with us.

Sponsor a Water Project

Interested in making clean water part of your lasting legacy? Learn more about The Tributary