Disaster Relief

Caribbean Clean Water Hurricane Relief Program

Path of Hurricane Maria, 2017

Caribbean Clean Water Hurricane Relief Program

Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda

NPCA and WC logos

This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION, working with SAMARITAN'S PURSE


Aftermath of Irma in St. Maarten

As most of you know, a series of destructive storms hit the Caribbean this year with a ferocity and intensity that was truly catastrophic.  The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was a hyperactive, deadly, and extremely destructive season, featuring 17 named storms!  Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria did the majority of the damage, though, setting records and leaving a wake of devastation in their wakes.

Hurricane Maria was regarded as the worst natural disaster on record in Dominica and Puerto Rico, and caused catastrophic damage and triggered a major humanitarian crisis in Puerto RicoEye of the Hurricane (Maria).  In Maria's wake, Dominica's population suffered from an island-wide water shortage due to uprooted pipes, nearly every roof on the island was damaged, and 100% of the banana and tuber plantations were lost.  In Puerto Rico, the hurricane completely destroyed the island's power grid, leaving all 3.4 million residents without electricity, and an outbreak of leptospirosis materialized in the weeks following the hurricane, as standing water remained and became contaminated with animal urine and feces.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which was also a Category 5, development on the islands of Barbuda and St. Maarten (also St. Martin) was described as being "95% destroyed" by respective political leaders, with 1,400 people feared homeless in Barbuda. In many areas, every building was damaged or destroyed, including the shelters!  The winds at Irma's peak were in excess of 185 mph, the strongest to hit the area on record.

Water Charity has done a lot of disaster response over the years, and we believe very strongly that water filters save lives.  In the wake of a natural or man-made disaster, people are displaced and in the shelters and camps that spring up, waterborne illnesses can spread very quickly.  In many cases, deaths from cholera, typhoid, dysentery and the like can surpass that of the disaster itself by orders of magnitude.  Water Charity was helping in Haiti after their 2010 earthquake, when a cholera outbreak took hold that went on to affect nearly 700,000 people (more than 6% of the population)!  It is only recently coming out that the number of deaths from that event are probably at least 3x as great as what were reported at the time.

Caribbean Clean Water Hurricane Relief Program

The Solution

In order to help as quickly and efficiently as possible, Water Charity teamed up with our friends at Samaritan's Purse to deal with the water issues from the outset, and get filters where they were needed.  We are happy to say that these filters were among the first to be distributed and placed in the afflicted areas. 

There are 3 types of filters, 4 Islands covered, and 5 projects in our relief program, so far.  We are proud to say that more than 100,000 people are drinking clean water due to this program now, and we would like to expand it if we can raise more money.

Here, we will give an overview of all the various projects in the program.  Each of them will also have their own dedicated page on this site where you can go to see more detailed information, pictures and video from the work and so on.

SAWYER FILTER DISTRIBUTION (Puerto Rico, Dominica, St. Maarten)

​Those of you who know Water Charity will know about our longstanding and frequent use of the Sawyer "hollow Sawyer Distributions so farmembrane" water filter technology. See our Filters For Life Program for some examples.  Many of our distributions fall into other programs, but you will see that we were one of the earliest adopters of this method and product, and have helped Sawyer build out an entire international relief effort to match their commercial efforts.  This has caused an explosion of use around the world, a huge drop in price, and a lot of people having access to safe water who wouldn't otherwise.

Fast forward to 2017, prices for filters are now less than 1/4th of what they were when we started using them, and they were a deal back then. They have many advantages over the ceramic and carbon filters we used to use. They are light, small, last forever (guaranteed for a million gallons, and they go way beyond that), require almost no maintenance and are engineered so the carbon nanotubes do not let anything larger than .1 micron (or .02 for the extreme model) through. No living pathogen is smaller than .1 micron, so it is a brilliant solution.  See a testimonial from Kenya here.

Now, in many homes across Dominica, Puerto Rico, and St. Maarten, Sawyer filters are providing hurricane-affected families with clean water. These personal filtration systems filter more than 150 gallons of water per day. In certain remote areas of Puerto Rico—where residents were trapped by blocked roads and had neither running water nor power—some people resorted to drinking from local streams. Using a helicopter, our disaster response staff airlifted thousands of Sawyer water filters and buckets to these remote communities. Once residents received the filters, they had ongoing access to clean water.

  • 5,500 Sawyer Filters installed in Puerto Rico (also see Community Filter Installation below)
  • 1,000 Sawyer Filters installed in Dominica
  • 88 Sawyer Filters installed in St. Maarten (also see Community Filter Installation below)


Barbuda is a sparsely populated island in the nation of Antigua & Barbuda, that was hit rather hard by Irma. Much of the population of the island has simply left, but the people who stayed had very serious water needs.  The Parker Unit (desalination) was chosen to meet the needs there.  It is a workhorse, community-wide device that is designed to be in constant operation.

The Parker unit is installed at the Fisheries Complex. This location was chosen because it is secure, at the main arrival point for boats, and an ideal access point for the saltwater. The Parker unit produces about 500 gallons of clean water on an average day. The water is being used by everyone on the island, which currently is approximately 300 people.

*UPDATE* Last week (December 4-10), this unit filtered and produced 3,940 gallons of clean water which has been about average since Irma struck.


​In addition to the Sawyer Filters we have distributed, this program has also built a large Living Water Treatment System capable of providing clean water for thousands of people a day.  It has been installed and online since Puerto Rico LWS locationbetween Irma and Maria serving 800 households nearby as well as people from around the region.

The Living Water Treatment System was installed in Canovanas municipality, Campo Rico Barrio, which was devastated by both hurricanes Irma and Maria. Irma caused severe flooding in the flood-prone valley, followed by Maria’s winds that destroyed many homes in the exposed mountainous areas. The municipal government identified the population in Campo Rico as among the most vulnerable in the community. The exact location of the filtration system was determined according to proximity to a constant and sufficient water source, a secure location for the system to operate, and easy accessibility for the local population to come receive water. The system is installed at the base of a hillside with an estimated 800 households. The location is immediately adjacent to the main road passing through the southern half of the municipality, so there was constant heavy vehicle traffic that had access to collect treated water. The Water Charity & Samaritan’s Purse partnership was the first aid organization to arrive in Canovanas—even ahead of the government response.​

  • Over 58% of all residents in Campo Rico lived below the poverty line in 2016.
  • 72% of the head of households have less than a high school education.
  • Many immigrant families in the area are not eligible for FEMA funding.

St. Maarten filter locationsST. MAARTEN COMMUNITY FILTER UNIT

In addition to the small Sawyer filter distribution we did for St. Maarten (see above), we also installed a large community filtration system that was able to generate water for 2,500 people a day.  Reverse osmosis is a technique that allows for complete removal of all pathogens, and was a good choice for the specific conditions on Sint Maarten/ Saint Martin.

Samaritan’s Purse installed four community-size reverse osmosis treatment systems in St. Maarten: • Two at Pelican Key Pier • One at Simpson Bay Coast Guard base • One at Oyster Bay.  Water Charity was responsible for the one at Oyster Bay. These locations were selected in coordination with the municipal water authority on St. Maarten to supplement their water trucking capacity. Each of these locations were at the fringes of the damaged water distribution system, among larger populations without clean water, able to be secured, and had access to non-turbid sources of seawater. We estimate that our water system served a population of approximately 1,200 people during the critical period after Hurricane Irma, and before municipal potable water distribution could be restored on the island.

Puerto Rico Living Water System
Puerto Rico Living Water System​

This disaster response program has been a big deal, and we are committed to continue helping the people who suffered from Hurricanes... even after the events have faded from the media coverage.  We would like to expand our help, and are currently looking into ways to aid the hard-hit US Virgin Island St. Croix.  Updates will be posted here when available, and we will nest book pages for information on the 5 projects currently comprising this program.  

Please consider supporting this work.  Every donation counts.  With more money, we can help more people.  Having lost their homes, and livelihoods, the least we can do for them is to make sure the water they drink is not causing loss of life as well.

Initial funding to implement this program has been provided by the Paul Bechtner Foundation.


Helicopter deliver of bucket filters
Puerto Rico Helicopter Deliver of Sawyer Bucket Filters

Barbuda Parker Filter InstallationSt. Maarten Reverse Osmosis System
Barbuda Parker Filter Installation​                                               St. Maarten Reverse Osmosis System               


Funds Needed : 

Wondo Genet Well Rehab Program - Ethiopia

Fetching water in Wondo Genet

Phase 2 of our Ethiopia Well Rehab ProgramPromoting Transformation and Hope among the Most Marginalized in EthiopiaNPCA & WC LOGOS

This project is made possible through the partnership of Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association.

Non functioning wellLocation
Five villages in the Wondo Genet region of Ethiopia, spread across three Kebeles (counties).  Kube, Wuchale 1, Lomicha, Wuchale 2, and Abosa.

Community Description
Wondo Genet is in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia, about a four-hour drive south of Addis Ababa. It also is part of the Sidama Zone located in the Great Rift Valley.  Wondo Genet is bordered on the south by Malga, on the west by Awasa Zuria, and on the north and east by the Oromia Region. Based on the 2007 Census, this woreda has a total population of 155,715, of whom 79,664 are men and 76,051 women; 23,125 or 14.85% of its population are urban dwellers.

This region has been suffering from an interminable drought, as well as intractable poverty.  As such, they desperately need assistance to meet their basic living requirements.  The people of these 5 villages have wells which have fallen into disrepair, and are currently unusable... thus making their hard lives even harder.

Problem Addressed
A WaSH survey conducted by the district water office shows that there are 60 existing wells that are not functioning and need repair to provide water to the respective communities. To meet demand, 81 new wells need to be constructed.  Studies have shown that operation and maintenance of water supplies fail after a short period of time because of poor operation and lack of effective maintenance. The district water office has no budget for maintenance and cannot effectively provide technical support. Delay or negligence in operation and maintenance of water facilities negatively impacts the wellbeing of the population, forcing them to travel long distances and wait in lengthy queues for potable water.  Many people resort to dangerous undeveloped water sources, most of which amount to nothing more than a muddy pit.  Naturally, this causes severe, and often deadly, health concerns with a high incidence of waterborne illness.

Project Description
This project is to rebuild 5 wells, one in each of 5 villages. 

Gathering water with donkeyWater Charity has initiated the repairs by partnering with local NGOs to drill the wells deeper, replace handpumps, and otherwise enact repairs that will bring water back to the people of these villages.

Our friends at Water is Life International have people on the ground and a substantial infrastructure for doing WaSH work in the region, including a number of well-drilling rigs donated by our partners at Wine to Water.  By partnering with these groups, WC is able to do these projects at a fraction of their normal cost, without having to have our own personnel waste valuable funds in transit.

Before the repair work begins, an intentional process to engage the community and the government is followed in order to avoid a handout-mentality that can create dependency.  After receiving government permission, a Water Use Committee (WUC) has been elected in each community to take responsibility for the use and maintenance of the repaired well.  The WUC is comprised of four women and three men, which ensures that women will have a strong voice and position to manage the well.  The management of the well by the WUC usually includes charging a nominal fee to the users, in order to maintain a fund for repairs.  This fund is then used for maintenance and repairs to keep the pump operational. In this way our repaired wells are unlikely to meet the fate of many such wells in the region, and should be functional far into the foreseeable future.

Gathering water from a streamA productive and functioning well brings joy to the community as it promotes a healthier life, eases the physical burden of the community, and returns time to women (as the duty of fetching and carrying water traditionally falls to them).  It is vital to the sustainability of the well that the community is involved in the project throughout the entire process for design, planning, and implementation of the project.  WaSH training is provided to the WUC so they can become permanent trainers in the community. The idea is improved sanitation and hygiene behaviors within the community, such as Open Defecation Free areas and consistent handwashing, through the hygiene and sanitation training.

Hydrogeological conditions on site indicate that groundwater is in accessible depth (20 to 30 meter below the ground), has adequate hydraulic conductivity and storage volume and good quality.

Project Impact
Approximately 1,500 people will directly benefit from these repairs... as well as anyone who visits these villages.

Project Management
Josh Elliott, of Wine to Water, is providing administrative oversight for these projects.  And Water is Life technicians are managing the implementation and training aspects.

Monitoring and Maintenance
The WUC set up in each village will be responsible for the monitoring and maintenance of their well.  This will be overseen by WiLI personel who will continue to work with the villagers and train their SLT's.

Undeveloped Water SourceComments
As we have more funding for this program, and its parent programs, Water Charity is committed to continuing this work, and hopes to be able to fix all of the broken wells of Wondo Genet eventually.  As such, we ask you to donate generously.  Every dollar raised in excess of the cost of these rehabs will be spent on further rehabs in the region. 

In this program, as with all WC projects, we have used existing funds to start this project immediately. We only ask for donations once projects are already underway. In this way we can be extremely responsive and speedy in delivering aid where it is needed. Even a short delay in implementation can be costly when dealing with waterborne illness. Other charities reverse this, but we feel time is of the essence. In this way, donating to this program is actually reimbursing us for funds we have already allocated.  The more money we have on hand, the more projects like this we can start.

Dollar Amount of Project

This project has been fully funded by an anonymous U.S. donor.  To help us provide more programs like this one, please Donate to our Ethiopia Well Rehab Program.

This project has been completed.  To read about the conclusion, CLICK HERE.

Waiting for water

Funds Needed : 

Malawi Borehole Program

Clean Water For Rural Malawi!

NPCA & WC LOGOSThis Malawi Program is a component of the East Africa Water and Sanitation Program, and is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the National Peace Corps Association.

Malawi Borehole Program

Malawi has suffered through a terrible and unprecedented drought that has made life very hard for the people there. Many rural villages were forced to trek long distance to gather meager water supplies from sources unfit for human consumption. This program has been enacted to cobat this tragic situation, and has been emminently successful.

In concert with our friends at Village X, Water Charity embarked on a program to provide wells to 7 villages in Malawi. At this point, we have done 10 projects so far, and intend to keep doing more! You can use the donate widgets below to allocate funds specifically for this program.

Each well project has its own project page, links to which can be found at the bottom of the page.  The conclusion pages to each project are linked to their project pages.

Check out this video to get a better idea of the situation in Malawi, and what Water Charity & Village X are doing about it:

Water Charity Malawi filmed by Gareth Burghes

Village X is a Malawi aid organization run by RPCV Michael Buckler, with whom Water Charity has worked on projects in the past. Malawi Country Rep, Myson Jambo, went out to visit villages within the Village X network that had identified a serious water/sanitation problem. Many of these communities are in dire need of clean water. Like Mlenga Village used to (the first  well/ pilot of this program, already completed) prior to March 2015, they fetch water from streams and shallow holes in the ground. Community members suffer from inordinate rates of waterborne illness and women (the primary water fetchers) have been subjected to domestic abuse, rape and, in one case, even death from drowning in a flooded river, because of commutes to and from polluted water sources.Finishing up a new well

Myson has found a number of communities in need of a new borehole installation, spanning three districts and 225 square miles in the Upper Shire Highlands of Southern Malawi (see map) -- Siyabu, Nachuma, Likoswe, Kazembe, Bakili and Mwanga. We have been making boreholes in them one by one. Now, in all, the boreholes have benefited nearly 10,000 people, mostly sustenance farmers and their families living in areas far from government services and significant NGO assistance. All of the original projects have been completed, and many villages have access to clean drinking water for the first time!

Not only have we finished the original 7 village wells successfully and continue to do new wells in new villages, we have enacted a Training Program to increase the number of trained borehole drillers in the region. Many of the wells being done in the region now are made possible by this effort, even if they are not specifically Water Charity projects.  You can find an updated list of projects at the bottom of this page, below you can see the original outline of the program when we started it. Please take the time to click through to the individual projects and their conclusions to see the true scope of this important work!

Original Program Outline:

Locations and Community Descriptions 

See above. Click on the map to expand it, or click here. Each village is marked on the map, and main roads (dirt and asphalt) are shown in yellow. 

Siyabu Village, Zomba District, Malawi. Siyabu is a typical rural Malawian village without running water or electricity, located along a dirt road, about a two-hour walk from the city of Zomba. Linesi Masala, a mother of two and resident of Siyabu, was abused by her husband for taking too long to retrieve water from a shallow well, where wait times were very long. He accused her of using that time to sleep with other men. Her husband subsequently died of dysentery. Approximately five couples in Siyabu have divorced over this issue.

Nachuma Village, Zomba District, Malawi. Nachuma is a typical rural Malawian village without running water or electricity, located along a dirt road, about a two-hour walk from the city of Zomba. Nachuma, an usually large village (two to three times larger than other Village X partner villages), has one operational borehole, built in 1993, that frequently has maintenance problems. Most of the village doesn't use this borehole due to long walking distances. Frola Nachuma, a mother of three and Nachuma resident, was stripped naked by her husband and tied to a pole in the village market. He was angry that she fetched water from a shallow well near their home instead of walking long distances to and from the village's sole borehole. Her husband has since fled the village.

Likoswe Village, Chiradzulu District, Malawi. Likoswe is a typical rural Malawian village without running water or electricity, located about a twenty-minute walk from a rural stretch of paved road, connecting Blantyre and Mulanje. A 13-year-old girl in Likoswe, Mphatso, was recently raped by a man from an adjacent village, while fetching water from a stream. She now has HIV.

Kazembe Village, Mulanje District, Malawi. Kazembe is a typical rural Malawian village without running water or electricity, located along a dirt road, a great distance from any paved road or urban area. Kazembe residents fetch water from the Nalada River. Consequently, infant morality rates are high and, on average, 4 cases of cholera are diagnosed in Kazembe each month.

Bakili Village, Mulanje District, Malawi. Bakili is a typical rural Malawian village without running water or electricity, located along a dirt road, a great distance from any paved road or urban area. Bakili lost a 14-year-old girl who went to fetch water from the local river and presumably drowned. Her body has not been recovered. 

Mwanga Village, Phalombe District, Malawi. Located along a rural stretch of paved road that connects the cities of Zomba and Phalombe, the commercial center of Mwanga has electricity, but many households lack it. In Mwanga, women often ask their husbands to fetch water using their bicycles, from a borehole located far from the village. The men usually resist, leaving wives with no choice except fetching water from nearby, unsanitary sources. 

Problems Addressed

There is no clean water accessible for residents of the villages (except Nachuma, a huge village with one borehole for 1487 people, located far from where most of them live). This leads to illness and, in some cases, death, particularly among children under the age of 5. Residents currently fetch water for drinking and cooking from dirty shallow wells or waterways like streams or rivers. Women, in particular, are vulnerable in the absence of clean, nearby water sources. As described above, in our partner villages, women fetching water from sometimes distant, unsanitary sources have experienced domestic abuse for taking too long (husbands suspect infidelity), rape (when women venture into remote areas), and death from drowning in flooded rivers during the rainy season.Water drum transported by bike.

Project Descriptions

These projects involve building boreholes. Borehole locations were chosen by village project committees, acting on behalf of entire villages. All sites are in publicly accessible places. Construction of all boreholes will be done by EZ Borehole Drillers, a company located in Blantyre, with substantial experience in the area, including the Mlenga borehole funded by Water Charity in February 2015. The installations will take three days to complete. It is expected that water will be reached at about 45 meters, but the wells will be drilled to depths of about 60 meters. Before drilling, a hydro-geographical assessment using electrical measurements will be conducted to find the depth of the underlying aquifer. The boreholes will be guaranteed for one year by EZ Borehole Drillers. The Mlenga borehole is functioning well, with no reported breakdowns or complaints. Above ground, the boreholes will include a standard metal pump mechanism, a cement foundation to protect the pump mechanism, a cement spillway to direct water into a nearby vegetable garden, and a clothes washing station. Water Charity funds will be used to pay for the skilled labor as well as for the materials that cannot be found locally, such as piping, fixtures and fittings, and concrete. Communities will contribute volunteer labor, materials, including bricks and sand, and about $400 in cash.

Project Impacts

Siyabu Village, Zomba District, Malawi. 104 households; 512 people.

Nachuma Village, Zomba District, Malawi. 302 households (258 of whom don't use old borehole due to distance); 1487 people (1270 of whom don't use old borehole due to distance).

Likoswe Village, Chiradzulu District, Malawi. 187 households; 738 people.

Kazembe Village, Mulanje District, Malawi. 179 households; 704 people.

Bakili Village, Mulanje District, Malawi. 97 households; 474 people. 

Mwanga Village, Phalombe District, Malawi. 112 households; 671 people.

Totals: 937 households; 4,369 people.  (now over 1,500 households & 7500 people and counting!)

Malawi RegionsProject Administration

These projects will be administered by Michael Buckler, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Malawi from 2006 to 2008. He is the founder and CEO of Village X, a social enterprise located in Washington, D.C. dedicated to improving community development work in sub-Saharan Africa.  He is a member of the National Peace Corps Association, Friends of Malawi, and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C.

Monitoring and Maintenance

EZ Borehole Drillers will conduct 2 days of community-based management training per borehole. Trainees will include village chiefs and members of two borehole management committees, a technical committee (responsible for upkeep and maintenance) and a sanitation committee (charged with keeping the borehole tidy and planting a vegetable garden that utilizes excess water from the well). The technical committees will collect a maintenance fee of 100 MK (about 20 cents) per month per household to ensure that there are sufficient funds to adequately maintain the facility and repair it when needed. These are important infrastructure projects that will improve the health and wellbeing of the communities. They are well planned, with strong management and fiscal safeguards in place. They incorporate elements of oversight and buy-in by the residents to make them sustainable into the future.

Fundraising Target

$8,000 per project ($56,000 for all seven)  Although these wells have been funded by an anonymous donor, further donations will go for additional wells. We are currently raising funds for wells 11 - 20, so donate generously!


EZ Borehole Drillers has already completed half of these wells, with plans to complete these projects in the Southern Region before traveling with their equipment for an extended trip to the Northern Region.  We have also now started our Malawi Borehole Training Program as a subprogram of this one, with the goal of having this team train 2 other teams to operate in other regions of Malawi... The end result will be that we will have 3 teams operating all over Malawi soon, and, thus, be able to do 3 wells at a time!


2015 in Review: All 7 of the original borehole projects were successfully completed!  Water Charity & Village X validated and improved the model for this program in 2015. We demonstrated donor demand for direct giving and the capacity (time, intellect, know how) of local people to accomplish development faster, better, cheaper, and more transparently.  Communities contributed cash, labor and materials, and project costs were based on local prices. Consequently, this program had up to 8 times more charitable impact per dollar than status quo NGOs.

2015 Village X Infographic

2016 and Beyond:  Water Charity & Village X continue to assess water conditions in rural areas and have continued to create new boreholes for villages in need. The campaign has been very successful, and we even started a Borehole Training Program to increase the number of people trained in making boreholes there. The "ripple effect" from this (more villages getting wells and less time waiting) is just one of the happy side effects of this work. We are happy to say that improved health, and substantially less time spent collecting water from unimproved (often dangerous) sources, has led to increased productivity and improved well being. We hope to continue replicating this success until all villages in need are served.

More data on this successful program! 

Data 1

Data 2

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Filters for Life Program – Worldwide

Filters for Life Program – Worldwide

The Filters For Life Program is Water Charity's flagship, worldwide endeavor to provide much-needed water filters for people around the world. With developments in filter technology over the last five years or so, we can now provide needy communities with long-lasting, effective water filters that can provide as much as 650 gallons of water a day each.  Point One bucket kitThese carbon nanotube filters are guaranteed to last for 1,000,000 gallons (and often last far longer with a modicum of maintenance)... and this technology allows for this at a very reasonable price.

The hollow membrane style (dialysis) filters offer a substantial improvement over the older biosand, ceramic, and activated charcoal filters we had been using.

They are small, light, and easily transported. Whereas, biosand filters are large and heavy.  The making of the various grades of sand, and the transportation of this heavy material accounted for a huge portion of the cost of a biosand installation.

The Sawyer filters we use are very durable and difficult to break... whereas the ceramic filters we had favored previously are notoriously prone to cracking, and thus eliminating their ability to protect people from pathogens.  They also had far slower flow rates, and could therefore serve less people per installation.

We are very excited about this program, which will include individual projects all over the world. The need for these filters is great, and there is almost no limit to the number of  filters we can distribute as the funds become available.

Taiphoon Haiyan Distribution
Keep in mind:

  • 80% of all disease is water-borne
  • 50% of all hospital beds worldwide are occupied by someone suffering from a water-related illness
  • Lack of clean drinking water kills more people globally than all forms of violence combined... including war.

There is no need for these statistics to be true anymore. We have all the tools we need to completely eliminate this suffering and waste of life. The predominant victims of this terrible situation are young children. Simple diarrhea is a leading killer of children under 5.  When it is so simple to prevent waterborne illness, there is no excuse for this. These kids deserve a chance.

As an addition to our current roster of successful programs in water and sanitation, which have included well drilling, rainwater catchment, toilet and hand-washing station construction, emergency relief, reforestation efforts and more--including a good number of filter projects--as well as our acclaimed Appropriate Projects initiative, this new program will be an umbrella for our worldwide push to get filters into the hands of those people who desperately need them. It includes most of the relevant projects, large and small... thus enabling people to donate to the overall effort.

For various reasons, some filter projects are tied into other initiatives or programs... generally where the filter installations are just a part of a larger effort.  Many rainwater catchment projects, for instance, have a filter component, but being that only a few filters are involved, and the larger part of the project are the gutters, the tanks and the distribution system... such projects don't technically fall under this program.

Water Drop WorldThe projects in this program, are larger distributions, and are upwardly scalable. As such, the more money we can raise, the more filters we can give out. Instead of creating and packaging the individual filter delivery projects one by one and funding them separately, it makes sense to raise as much money as possible and keep the filters flowing. In this way, we can also get larger grants from foundations and concerned organizations. We have hopes that, in time, this program can grow into one of the largest thing we have done.

For those interested in the filter technology we are presently using, please feel free to go to the Sawyer International website and peruse the relevant materials. We use primarily their Point One filter, but for hospitals, clinics and other sites we will also be making the Point Zero Two purifier available.  Both filters are engineered to have no holes large enough for even the smallest microbes to pass through. Point One = .1 micron engineering and Point Zero Two = .02 microns [note: The Point One is more than capable of handling the amoebas, cysts, bacteria, and protozoa that normally render water un-potable.]

This is an exciting program, and we hope you will see the need for it and join in. Water Charity is currently active in over 65 countries around the world. As the money comes in we will take the Filters For Life program into all of them and beyond.

If there are certain regions where you are especially interested in helping, it will be possible to donate specifically for those countries or areas. Just send us a message with your donation. However, we are hoping people will recognize that a general donation to the program itself will be the most effective way to get the maximum number of filters out in the shortest amount of time.

We are water... literally. The human body is about 70% water by mass, and a typical human cell is composed of 98.73% water molecules. Think about it.

CLICK HERE to see all the projects, or the links for the various individual projects in this program at the bottom of the page.

Kids using Sawyer water filtersNew made Sawyer Bucket Filters


Funds Needed : 

Conclusion of Earthquake Relief & Water Filter Project - Nepal

Damaged Statue in Nepal

This project has been completed under the partnership of Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association, in association with our friends Wine To Water.

To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.

Destruction in Nepal's Kathmandu ValleyIn response to the earthquakes that devastated Nepal in April and May, 2015, Water Charity and Wine To Water have partnered to support the people affected by these events with clean water.  Sawyer filters and water holding buckets were procured to enable victims of the destruction to have access to clean water.
The need and urgency of this relief cannot be overstated. More than 3 million people in Nepal lack access to clean water and sanitation due to infrastructure and homes being completely destroyed throughout much of the country. So, in addition to dealing with the magnitude of the destruction of the earthquake, and the pending monsoon season in a couple of weeks which will make living conditions much worse for many, the lack of clean water will compound these problems with an increase in water-borne illnesses.
In an effort to make the highest impact possible, water filters were distributed to the following territories within Kathmandu Valley. Upon the original site assessment of each territory, a local community leader was chosen and trained on program management. This step has proven to be very helpful as these community leaders have ensured the proper care and use of the filter over the weeks following the distribution.
Wine To Water’s CEO, David Cuthbert, joined the ground team to do site visits and assessments on these locations and are pleased to report nearly 100% adoption of the use of the filters in the field. It is clear and extremely evident that they are greatly appreciated by the recipients and highly helpful during this difficult time.

A very thirsty man using the Sawyer filter

Location 1: Kavreshtali, Ward 5 and Phutung District
In this rural area 3.5 KM north of Kathmandu, 110 filters were distributed thus far. Many more filters are needed to cover more of the population but over 2500 people are using the filters within these areas. The community leader, Nirmal Lama, is overseeing the maintenance and use of the filters by the population. In this area, 275 homes were totally or partially destroyed of the 490 that existed there.
Location 2: Sangla Club, Ward 3
In Sangla Club, 60 Sawyer filters were distributed for the benefit of 1,200 people who live here. The earthquake nearly leveled every home in this area as 240 were totally destroyed of the 268 that once covered the area. People are now living in tents or temporary shelters in this area. Community leader Saraswati Joshi is overseeing the local filter operation.
Location 3: Darmashtali
In Darmashtali, 35 filters have been set up in community hubs and are being used by 1,200 people. Spring water has been contaminated due to the earthquakes destruction but is still accessible in the community. Filters are being used at these stations to clean water for drinking, bathing, and food preparation. Filter maintenance and management is being done by two young leaders, Ajit Shahi and Shyam Dongol.
Darmashtali, a village rich in Nepali heritage, culture and community, has seen 90% of its homes destroyed and personal items totally lost. In many ways, they are starting over. As we visited the community on June 4th, 2015, it was evident that the entire community was coming together as best as possible to build temporary shelters in advance of monsoon season in June. The town is made up of many tradespeople and skilled labor workers.
Although some progress has been made and the water situation has improved, food shortages were obviously still a very large issue. In visiting one of the houses this week, David witnessed a woman cleaning mud off of scattered rice that was buried under the rubble of what was once her home.
The partnership between Water Charity and Wine To Water has directly contributed to provide clean water for thousands of folks in desperate need throughout Nepal.

We would like to thank David Cuthbert and Kyle Lomax once again for their work on this much needed project. 

This project falls under our ongoing Filters For Life Program - Worldwide,


While the work in Nepal has moved from disaster relief to development, there is still a tremendous need for clean water.  We will continue this successful project as long as we receive funds to pay for the installation of filters in areas that were hit by the earthquake. 

Broken water faucet basinsSite assesmentDestroyed homeDestruction in Nepal ... unpotable water.Filter InstallationDestroyed building


Earthquake Relief & Water Filter Project - Nepal

Man sobs at the ruination of his temple in Nepal, after the earthquake

NPCA & WC LOGOSThis project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the National Peace Corps Association.

After the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal, Water Charity immediately began to try and find ways to help.  Potable water is always a valuable and important commodity after a disaster, so we decided to jump in and send high quality, effective water filters to aid in the relief effort.  Using Sawyer filters, which comprise the backbone of our Filters For Life Program, we joined together with a few of our friends to send 1,000 filters to be installed in refugee camps, hospitals, community centers and schools around the hardest hit areas.

Nepalese First Responders on the sceneWorking together with our friends, fellow non-profit Wine2Water, installation of these filters began immediately in the days after the first earthquake, and will provide clean drinking water for as many as a hundred thousand people.  We hope that with all the problems the Nepalese refugees have to deal with, that safe, clean drinking water will cease to be one of them.

The earthquake that hit on the 25th of April, and a second major tremor on May 12th, killed more than 8,600 people and brought down buildings in Kathmandu and the country's central districts.  More than 8,000 people died in the disaster and many remain homeless. This disaster is said to affect over 8 million people in the region of Kathmandu. 

This project falls under our ongoing Filters For Life Program - Worldwide, in which we are trying to make sure these high quality Sawyer filters make their way into as many hands as humanly possible.  While not as flashy as drilling wells, water filters are probably the single most effective way to prevent death and unnecessary suffereing due to unpotable drinking water (the leading cause of preventable death worldwide).

In disaster situations, having access to clean, potable drinking water is generally the first priority.  Long before the food runs out, thirsty people are forced to scavenge for a source of water, which will generally prove unealthy and waterborne illnesses are known to run rampant in refugee camps where proper filtration, or at least some little bit of bleach, is not being used to clean the water. 

Water Charity, in concert with the NPCA, paid for this project out of pocket, and is asking donors to contribute to this effort by helping us recoup the funds we have already spent, enabling us to expand the relief effort.  All money raised in excess of the current cost of the project will go to further relief efforts in Nepal.

Fundraising Goal


This project has been completed.  To see the results, CLICK HERE.

While the work in Nepal has moved from disaster relief to development, there is still a tremendous need for clean water.  We would like to continue this successful project, and ramp up filter installations in the affected regions of Nepal.  Please consider donating to this effort to allow us to implement a Phase 2 and help even more people. 

Water Charity is proud to be among the first groups to get tangible help on the ground in emergencies like this one, and the typhoon Haiyan earlier where we engaged in a similar series of projects to help survivors.

Refugees in a ruined square

Funds Needed : 

Xelajú Chico, Hector Paniaguas y Barrio Reforma, Water System Relief Project - Mexico

Xelajú Chico, Hector Paniaguas, y Barrio Reforma, Water System Project - Mexico

wc - npca logosThis project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.

Xelajú ChicoXelajú Chico, Barrio Reforma and Hector Paniaguas in Southern Chiapas, Mexico

Community Description
The City of Motozintla is located in a deep valley formed by three rivers.  Heavy deforestation over 20 years ago caused so much damage to the watershed that rivers no longer flow as before and many springs have dried up.  More people have come to live in the city over time given the difficulties of living in the Sierra, including the challenges of not having enough water.  However, the amount of water available to the growing population in the city during the dry season is very low compared to the need.

The area of the project is a grouping of people from three adjacent neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city.  The people sustain themselves by engaging in  the following activities: Some look for contract work as laborers for construction, many are subsistence farmers who grow corn for their own use, and the women are homemakers.  Some have small stores in their homes that sell very basic items.  There are one or two teachers but the majority are peasant farmers.  They are families that suffer poverty and do not have disposable incomes.

The homes are made of adobe or cement block with metal roofs.  Women wash clothes by hand.   Most have a few chickens to augment the diet occasionally with eggs or to sell when there is a need for cash.  Most days they eat beans, rice, pasta and tortillas.

Map of the AreaProblem Addressed
The city does provide water to the population in Motozintla but in practice this means a small flow of water for a couple of hours about once month.  This is why the people chose to find their own solution to this lack of water in order to be able to live better.  There are water trucks but the cost is beyond reach of the families in these neighborhoods.

In 2007, the people living in three neighborhoods, Xelajú Chico, Hector Paniaguas, y Barrio Reforma joined together to find a solution to the difficulties caused by not having water.  Sixty very poor families began to work together and after 7 months of saving up bits of funds, finally had pooled enough money to buy a piece of land where a good spring flows.  They laid down a 2 inch hose over 11 kilometers of extremely rough terrain and for all these years since have enjoyed the success of their collective effort with enough water to satisfy their household needs.  This is a great example of the phrase "La union hace la fuerza" - unity is strength.

They formed a water cooperative committee to oversee the administration of their water system, organizing work crews as needed, and to maintain the water line in a cooperative manner.   For 8 years they have smoothly cooperated to keep the system functional. 
Unfortunately, on March 7th, a vandal set fire to the ridge where part of the hose runs, destroying over 2 kilometers of hose. This is a disaster for the neighborhoods which now have a population of over 400 people.  

Project Description
This project will provide them with the hose they need to quickly replace what was lost and eliminate this hardship. We will also upgrade their uptake at the source by providing them with a design created by the Sexto Sol Center to eliminate the problem of debris becoming stuck in the hose. The "pichancha" as it is called is also designed to function as a pump to increase the draw of water from the spring. At the source there is a small dam that causes the water to pool so that the hose will always be submerged.  

Water in home in Hector PaniaguasGiven the difficult terrain, the hose is buried closer to the neighborhoods but in the mountains conditions require that it be strung across ravines or sustained by trees or wire.  This is typical of the region.  For this region the stronger hose is required, "cedula 80."
There is no holding tank because the water goes straight to the homes via individual hoses.  So there is a portion of the larger hose that has 60 valves, each that connect to an individual hose of ½ inch diameter.  Working together the opened up the road to lay down the hoses and put cement on top to protect them.  This part of the system was not harmed by the fire, fortunately.  
They have an agreement that once a family's tank is full, the faucet must be closed.  In that way they insure that everyone receives water.  As part of their work, the committee in charge of the water periodically checks to be sure that no one is letting the water run unchecked.  This has worked well for all these years, and, as we saw, there are good relations between members of the water cooperative.  

There is no cost for the water but if something happens to the hose, they determine what is needed to repair it and divide the cost among the 60 families.  Their numbers make it easier for poor families to be able to pool limited resources.  However this disaster is beyond their reach at this time, especially since the economy has not recovered from the loss of coffee crop revenues in recent years and other factors.
Barrio ReformaProject Impact
Approx. 400 residents will immediately benefit.

Project Manageer
The program is being be managed by Tamara Brennan, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Sexto Sol Center for Community Action, which serves impoverished communities in the Sierra Madre region of Chiapas, Mexico, near the border with Guatemala.

Monitoring and Maintenance
The local water cooperative will be responsible for monitoring and maintenance.  Should problems arise, they can contact Sexto Sol and Water Charity for further assistance.

Sexto Sol previously completed the School Flooding Remediation Project – Mexico in 2010 in partnership with Water Charity.  This project is part of our larger Sierra Madre Water Program, Phase 1 - Mexico, of which, we have completed the Cipresal Water System Project - Mexico among others.  

Dollar Amount of Project

Donations Collected to Date

Dollar Amount Needed

$0.00 - This project has been fully funded through the generosity of Michael and Carla Boyle of Nelsonville, OH, USA.


Donations of any amount will be appreciated. The full amount will allow you a posted dedication, if that is something you would like.

This project has been completed.  To view the conclusion report & pictures CLICK HERE.

Family in Barrio Reforma

Funds Needed : 

Conclusion of Water Charity Typhoon Haiyan Relief – Philippines

Conclusion of Water Charity Typhoon Haiyan Relief – Philippines

The emergency response aspect of this project has been completed. A total of 266 Sawyer water filters were delivered and put into use.

Conclusion of Water Charity Typhoon Haiyan Relief – PhilippinesTo read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.

The project was initiated to provide aid to stricken areas within days after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. Looking back, the impact on that country, with 99 million people, is hard to comprehend:

•    14.9 million people affected
•    4.13 million people displaced
•    6,100+ reported dead
•    26,233 reported injured
•    1.2 million damaged houses

The project was implemented by Water Charity in partnership with Wine to Water, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit engaged in water projects worldwide. It was managed by Kyle Lomax, Wine to Water’s International Projects Manager, and Doc Hendley, its Founder and President.

Kyle reports:

After Typhoon Haiyan struck, humanitarian aid from the international community sought to provide the most basic needs of survival (water, food, shelter, and medicine) to as many of the victims as possible. Many water systems were destroyed or contaminated with fecal coliform.

 Due to the extreme devastation, logistics, transportation, and the enormous number of people in desperation posed problems. Water bottles were air dropped, expensive water purification systems were set-up, and water trucks began moving to distribute water.

Unfortunately, this initial aid reached as few as one quarter of the population in places like Tacloban City. In places on the outskirts of towns, more remote areas, and many smaller islands, no aid at all has yet been provided.

We chose to utilize an amazing water filter, called the Sawyer PointONE water filter. With the technology derived from kidney dialysis, Sawyer worked to improve this hollow fiber membrane technology, giving it better filtration rates and longevity. The result was “U” shaped micro-tubes, with tiny pore holes at 0.1 micron in size. This makes it impossible (99.99999%) for harmful bacteria, protozoa, or cysts like E. coli, Giradia, Cholera, and Typhoid to pass through the Sawyer filter.

It is the perfect filter to use for disaster response. Not only is the filter the most effective, it is very small (4x2 inches) and efficient (1 liter per minute flow rate). Each filter simply attaches to a container, usually a 5-gallon bucket, and is capable of producing over 200 gallons of clean water per day. It can provide water for several families for up to 10 years!

Conclusion of Water Charity Typhoon Haiyan Relief – PhilippinesAfter a situation assessment on the ground, four locations around Tacloban City were chosen:

1.    Diit, Mercyville (Barangay 99) – 100 filters
2.    Upper Nulatula (Barangay 6) – 100 filters
3.    Divisoria – 33 filters
4.    Purok 1 – 33 filters

They were picked because they were some of the most in need and getting only “temporary relief” in the form on Hypsol chlorine solution or water trucks. These relief services were only lasting for a short period. Then, the locals were forced to go back to getting standing water or going to their contaminated wells.

The approach to the implementation was “relationship” driven. We worked from the bottom up and the top down within the communities, called barangays, to develop relationships and gain trust.

It started off with meeting with the barangay captains to mobilize all the heads of the households to meet at the barangay hall, which usually has a basketball court, perfect for doing training on the filter. Here we discussed the importance of clean water and sanitation, how it translates into better health and livelihood, and how to properly use/maintain/clean the filter. The goal was to make things fun and interactive, and, most importantly, to ensure that the filter would be properly used.

Filthy brown water was run through the filter and perfectly clean water could be seen by all. We drank the clean water along with the barangay captain and locals in the crowd. This allowed us to gain trust and make people feel comfortable to ask any questions and have discussions.

Then, we distributed the new filters and containers to the people, recorded their information, and let them know we would be checking to make sure everyone understood and used the filter.

In total, Water Charity provided 266 filters and containers, supplying an estimated 2,660 people with clean drinking water throughout Tacloban City! This is such a lasting impact that will totally transform these peoples’ lives forever. The cost for having this clean water comes out to be less than $0.50 per person, per year!

There remains a tremendous amount to be accomplished in the devastated areas, but the project has now moved on to a development phase. The extent to which we are able to continue with this important work is dependent solely on our success in raising funds to pay for same.

We again wish to thank the SLOW LIFE Foundation for their contribution to this project. We also extend our gratitude to Michael and Carla Boyle, Elmo Foundation, CannedWater4Kids, Dr. & Mrs. Gary Fraser, Carol Host, Elena Kramer, Diane Ray, Robert & Sandy Barrett, Gail Strasser, Desmyrna Taylor, Irving Ostrow, and all of the other donors for providing the funding that made this project possible.


Conclusion of Water Charity Typhoon Haiyan Relief – PhilippinesConclusion of Water Charity Typhoon Haiyan Relief – Philippines
Conclusion of Water Charity Typhoon Haiyan Relief – PhilippinesConclusion of Water Charity Typhoon Haiyan Relief – Philippines
Conclusion of Water Charity Typhoon Haiyan Relief – PhilippinesConclusion of Water Charity Typhoon Haiyan Relief – Philippines
Conclusion of Water Charity Typhoon Haiyan Relief – PhilippinesConclusion of Water Charity Typhoon Haiyan Relief – Philippines


Water Charity Typhoon Haiyan Relief - Philippines

Water Charity Typhoon Haiyan Relief - Philippines

Super Typhoon Haiayn, known as Yolanda in the Philippines, has been a true calamity for those who had to endure its awesome storm surge and 195mph winds.

As most of you know, Tacloban city bore the brunt of what looks to be the strongest storm on record to ever make landfall. Lt. Col. Marciano Jesus Guevara of the Filipino military aid said that the biggest problem in Tacloban is a lack of clean drinking water. "Water is life," he said. "If you have water with no food, you'll survive."

Within days after the devastating typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, and while it was still ravaging Vietnam, Water Charity began this effort to get water filters to the victims. With over 800,000 evacuees still housed in makeshift housing, churches and community centers, and well before any refugee camps had been constructed, Water Charity was already organizing the delivery of life-saving carbon nanotube filters.

TaclobanOur first shipment of filters was paid for out of our own pockets, and was flown to the Philippines personally by one of our colleagues to expedite distribution.

Far and away the best and most cost-efficient filter technology, these lightweight, durable and highly effective filters are engineered to less than a micron, and thus prevent all known pathogens, bacteria, cysts, protozoa, and even the smallest virus from passing through.

We started using this technology under our Filters for Life Program, so when the extent of the devastation became apparent, we were ready to step up and help with the relief effort.

The Sawyer filters are a practical, immediate, and long-term solution to the need for safe drinking water. They can last for over 10 years of heavy use, are washable, and are extremely versatile.

With filters ranging from $15 to $80 depending on usage, source water, and volume needed, there is no reason not to ensure that every single victim of this catastrophe can't at least have the best quality water possible.

The need for water is acute, and will be for quite some time. Long after this event has passed from the news, there will still be people without villages to return to, and helping them with this most basic of necessities is the most efficacious way to contribute to their health and wellbeing.

Waterborne illnesses are the scourge of refugee camps the world over. 80% of all diseases are waterborne, and the damage they do is compounded in the close-quarters and makeshift nature of any such camp. Help us prevent cholera outbreaks, amoebic dysentery, giardia and the host of other illnesses that are all too common in these situations.

Please give generously to this ongoing program. We will accept what you can afford, but we will give special recognition for donations of $100 or more.

Esteemed Donors

The SLOW LIFE Foundation, United Kingdom - $10,000
CannedWater4Kids, Sussex, WI, USA - $1,000
Michael and Carla Boyle, Nelsonville, OH, USA - $500
Elmo Foundation, Charlottesville, VA, USA - $500
Dr. & Mrs. Gary Fraser, Redlands, CA, USA - $200
Carol Host, Glendale, CA, USA - $100
Elena Kramer, Raleigh, NC, USA - $100
Diane Ray, Chattanooga, TN, USA - $100
Robert & Sandy Barrett, Calimesa, CA, USA - $100
Gail Strasser, Perris, CA, USA - $100
Desmyrna Taylor, Loma Linda, CA, USA - $100
Irving Ostrow, Los Angeles, CA, USA - $100

This project has been finished. To read about the conclusion of the project, CLICK HERE.

Funds Needed : 

Conclusion of Safe Water Now Project – Japan

Conclusion of Safe Water Now Project – JapanThis project has been completed. To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.

This project was to provide an immediate relief effort in Japan by shipping a truckload of 52,800 cans of water for immediate distribution to persons living in evacuation centers, schools, and orphanages.

In partnership with CannedWater4Kids, the truckload of canned water was prepared, packed, and shipped according to plan.

Second Harvest Japan took possession of the water in Japan and arranged for distribution.

Charles E. McJilton, CEO / Executive Director of Second Harvest, reports:

  1. We distributed the water to relief agencies working in the Minami-sanriku area.  This town was completely decimated and now must rely on water from outside the area.
  2. We added the water to care packages we sent out to people in temporary housing.
  3. We handed out water to individuals who came to pick up food from us in Minami-soma on June 4th. Here is a video of some of the distribution:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sojYPXgK1sc&feature=feedwll&list=WL

Thank you for your support.

We again wish to thank Six Senses Resorts & Spas for providing the funding for this project.

Conclusion of Safe Water Now Project – JapanConclusion of Safe Water Now Project – Japan
Conclusion of Safe Water Now Project – JapanConclusion of Safe Water Now Project – Japan


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