Our water project costs vary depending on project type, geography, and local economies. On average, projects start at $10,000 and can cost $25,000 or more. Once you've made your gift, we'll pair it with an appropriate project (or projects).
It takes 21 months of careful planning and community training to make a water project successful. Funding an entire water project means you’ll be recognized as the official project sponsor. We’ll keep you in the loop with updates and send you a detailed completion report when the project is complete.
We send your money to the field.
Our partners get permits & supplies, pick sites & begin the work.
At six months, we'll send you an update to let you know more about the country your money was sent to.
Our partners collect midterm reports & send us the information.
Our partners finish the work & train the communities about their water source.
At twelve months, we'll send you a mid-term update about the work on the ground and the progress towards completion.
Our partners collect final photos, GPS & community information.
We receive completion reports, verify the data, and send you a report.
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.
When projects are complete, we prove every one with photos and GPS coordinates on Google Maps.
We fund a variety of different water solutions. We choose each project solution based on water availability, culture, and economic conditions. When you sponsor a project, we’ll pair your donation with a solution of an appropriate cost. These are some of our solutions:
Have questions about sponsoring a project? Please get in touch with our team.
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):
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.
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.
When your project is built and we receive completion data from our partners (about 21 months), we assemble and send you a report with the following information:
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.
Building water and sanitation projects is a time-consuming business. We allow 21 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 21 months.
Yes. When we started in 2006, we only funded wells that cost around $5,000. We’ve since expanded to more geographies and technologies, from $70 BioSand filters in each household to $250,000 piped water systems for entire villages.
The communities with the greatest need are often those that are hardest to reach. In regions where water is deep underground, drilled wells are needed, and they typically cost over $10,000. Drilled wells are more expensive than hand-dug wells because they require rigs, drilling teams, and more materials.
Even for hand-dug wells, a typical project now costs anywhere between $6,000 and $10,000. 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 and sustains the health benefits from a water project. 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.
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 make an undesignated gift online, we will send your donation to the country where it will 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!
Twice a year, 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 $10,000 is most representative of a typical water project in countries we're working in.
Not every project costs 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.