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15 Trusted Charities Fighting for Clean Water

Most people can only live about three days without water. However, if the water a person comes across isn’t clean, drinking it can kill them. According to the World Health Organization, contaminated drinking water can cause cholera, dysentery, polio and typhoid. The 2 billion people without clean water are currently at risk of serious disease, but if shortages aren’t addressed, the crisis will only get worse. There are hundreds of charities working to improve water access, prevent contamination and protect clean water sources. Here are 15 examples:

#1. Water.org
#2. Safe Water Network
#3. Clean Water Fund
#4. Planet Water Foundation
#5. Water for People
#6. Lifewater International
#7. Water4
#8. The Water Project
#9. Thirst Project
#10. WaterStep
#11. WATERisLIFE
#12. Save the Water
#13. Splash
#14. Water Wells for Africa
#15. Blood: Water

#1. Water.org

Water.org is a global water and sanitation nonprofit. Through the WaterCredit Initiative, the charity helps financial partners distribute loans for water and sanitation projects. These loans help people finance taps and toilets in their homes without paying expensive fees. Repaid loans return to the system, so more people can access financing. Water.org also established Water Equity, the first impact investment manager focused on water. Since its founding, Water.org has reached more than 63 million people.

Water.org accepts donations by credit card, PayPal, mobile wallets and bank accounts on its website.

#2. Safe Water Network

Actor Paul Newman founded the Safe Water Network to develop affordable, equitable solutions to the water crisis. Through a global network of public and private partners, the charity works on getting water to people, helping with technical issues, engaging with other sectors and making water services equitable and sustainable. Since 2009, the group has worked in Ghana and India, which are two of the most water-stressed areas in the world. With its partners, the network hopes to reach 50 million people with safe water by 2026.

The Safe Water Network accepts one-time and recurring donations, and lets you donate in honor of someone.

Author perspective: Imagine you’re in a desert with no water in sight. As the sun bakes down from above and the sand burns from below, what’s happening inside your body? Water serves many functions, such as regulating your body temperature, moving toxins out of your cells and delivering oxygen through your blood. As you become dehydrated, you’ll feel thirsty, but eventually, that feeling fades. You’ll get headaches and you’ll feel disoriented, dizzy and sore. As your blood pressure plummets and toxins build up in your cells, your organs start to fail. Depending on factors like how much you’re moving, how your overall health is and whether you’ve found anything to eat, you can die of dehydration in just 72 hours.

#3. Clean Water Fund

Clean Water Fund has campaigned for clean water, clean air and pollution protection since 1974. It helps develop and empower grassroots environmental leadership, coalitions and other partners tackling things like water access, oil and gas pollution, toxic chemicals, sustainability and environmental justice. It has a cooperative relationship with fellow water nonprofit Clean Water Action. Together in Washington. D.C., the charities promote clean water policies, clean energy and environmental health solutions.

The Clean Water Fund accepts several donation options, including stock gifts and gifts by will or bequest.

#4. Planet Water Foundation

Since 2009, Planet Water Foundation has reached out to neglected communities with safe drinking water. At the time of writing, it supported 4 million people in 28 countries with services like water filtration systems, hand-washing facilities and hygiene programs. It focuses on schools, children and communities in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America areas. Planet Water Foundation also offers help during emergencies.

Visit the Planet Water Foundation website to donate cash, stock, crypto or another payment form.

#5. Water for People

Water for People is a global nonprofit focused on water, sanitation and hygiene solutions. It partners with communities, businesses and governments on sustainable water and sanitation systems, WASH training and more. It works in North America, Bolivia, Peru, India, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Honduras, Malawi and Guatemala. In 2023, the charity reached over 240,000 people with water services, over 220,000 people with hygiene education and 21 health clinics with better WASH services. The charity works with partners on water projects, and once an area can sustain its water service without direct help, Water for People moves to a new community.

To support Water for People’s mission, you can make one-time or monthly donations.

#6. Lifewater International

Lifewater International is a Christian charity focused on clean water, sanitation and hygiene services. The charity has a process: it chooses regions experiencing poverty, organizes 7-10-year projects, partners with local ministries, provides community-led WASH training and helps homes become “Healthy Home Certified.” Lifewater International has worked in 45 countries for the past 45 years and recently merged with Water for Good. While it partners with local ministries to distribute Bibles and plant churches, Lifewater says it serves everyone regardless of religion.

You can donate to Lifewater International by phone, mail or on its website.

#7. Water4

Water4 is a Christian charity that partners with water businesses in Africa. Through donated capital, these businesses can charge affordable rates. Water4 also trains educators on handwashing, safe food preparation and other WASH practices and supports local water entrepreneurs with products and services like technology training and a support network. Water4’s other services include geophysical surveying support, well drilling training and sales and marketing training. In 2022, Water4 participated in 1,751 new water projects and reached over 260,000 people.

Water4 accepts a variety of donations, including monthly donations, gifts by will and employer matching gift programs.

#8. The Water Project

The Water Project has been working in sub-Saharan Africa since 2006. It provides several services, including local NGO training, well pumps and other water equipment, and water safety education and maintenance. Local teams and experts choose the right type of project for a school or community. In 2023, the charity worked on projects like building wells, installing hand pumps and protecting springs in countries like Sierra Leone and Kenya.

To donate to The Water Project with your credit card or crypto wallet, visit the website.

#9. Thirst Project

Thirst Project is a nonprofit that builds freshwater wells. It focuses on the participation and empowerment of young people, who it believes are key to ending the global water crisis. Hundreds of thousands of young people lead Thirst Project’s awareness and fundraising campaigns around the world. Since the charity began in 2008, it’s raised over 10 million dollars, reached over 500,000 people with clean water and funded 3,350 projects. According to the charity’s website, it gives 100% of its public donations to programs. In 2022, Thirst Project funded 96 water projects, worked in 4 countries and raised over $850,000.

The Thirst Project accepts donations by credit card, stocks, cheque and more.

#10. WaterStep

WaterStep is a charity that trains people in developing communities on safe water solutions. Since its establishment, the charity has worked in 60+ countries. Currently, it has 116 active projects in places like Kenya, Ecuador, Uganda and Liberia. Beyond its training, education and emergency relief programs, WaterStep runs a shoe program. You donate new or gently used shoes to the charity, who then sells them to an exporter. The money then funds clean water service. In 2023, the charity impacted more than 12 million people.

To learn more about donations, including shoe donations and donations by credit card, visit the WaterStep website.

#11. WATERisLIFE

WATERisLIFE is a clean water and sanitation charity working in Africa and Latin America. Between 2020 and 2023, it completed 50+ water projects in 13 countries. By 2030, it hopes to reach one million people with its projects. It implements several water solutions, including a personal filtration straw, a Bucket Nanofilter, and ultrafiltration systems that can serve communities for 7-10 years. Other projects include a washroom for 5,000 people and water spring protection in Kenya.

WATERisLIFE accepts one-time, monthly and annual donations.

#12. Save the Water

Save the Water is a North American research and advocacy organization studying water contamination and its health impacts. Since 1999, the research team has identified chemicals in North American waters, documented their effects, communicated with the public and developed water treatment technologies that remove pollutants. It currently has four proprietary technologies that treat large bodies of water and remove things like heavy metals and pollutants. It also wants to establish an Everglades Project to protect the health of water and humans in Florida. While Save the Water focuses on North America, its research can apply globally.

Save the Water, which uses 100% of its donations for projects, accepts money through its PayPal.

#13. Splash

Splash is an organization focused on clean water, hygiene, sanitation and health, especially for kids. It currently serves over 1 million children in eight African and Asian countries. Its projects have reached 70% of the school kids in Kathmandu, Nepal, while in China, it helped every orphanage get a water filtration system. Splash’s activities include providing clean water, using commercial-grade filtration systems and making sure water flow is reliable and safe.

Supporters can make one-time, monthly or yearly donations on the Splash website.

#14. Water Wells for Africa

Water Wells for Africa (WWFA) works to build wells in Africa. In the 30 years the charity has operated, it’s supplied 450 sustainable water sources for 350,000 people. The well-building process is collaborative, and community-based management committees must include 5-6 women. WWFA also provides training on well maintenance, sanitation and hygiene. Each well serves at least 500 people. The Blossom Project, which is a newer program, builds private changing rooms for girls experiencing period poverty. In 2023, WWFA built the first Blossom Project changing room, which includes washing facilities and proper disposal of menstrual pads.

Water Wells for Africa accepts donations by credit card, cryptocurrency, donor-advised funds and more.

#15. Blood: Water

Blood: Water is a charity working with African organizations on the intersection of water and the HIV/AIDS crisis. Since 2004, the charity has worked in 12 countries with 33 organizations. At the time of writing, Blood: Water had active partners in Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi and Uganda. The charity makes an 8-year funding commitment (four two-year cycles) to their partners, who they assist with organizing and funding. Blood: Water wants to strengthen every organization’s team capacity, financial sustainability, program quality and community representation.

Blood: Water accepts one-time and monthly donations on its website.

About the author

Emmaline Soken-Huberty

Emmaline Soken-Huberty is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. She started to become interested in human rights while attending college, eventually getting a concentration in human rights and humanitarianism. LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and climate change are of special concern to her. In her spare time, she can be found reading or enjoying Oregon’s natural beauty with her husband and dog.