What water technologies do you use?

The water solutions we fund depend on the region’s water availability, culture and economic conditions. Where water is near the surface, a hand-dug well is often the right solution. When water is less accessible, our partners bring in a professional drill team to dig deep in the ground or pipe fresh water from a remote mountain spring.

Our partners survey each site and work with community leaders to determine the best solution. Communities often elect a Water Committee which is then trained to manage and maintain their water source. Finally, the community contributes time and labor to build the project.

Here are some of the technologies we use:

Hand-dug wells-

Hand-dug wells are possible in areas with a high water table. Under the supervision of skilled engineers and masons, the community typically contributes time and labor.

Drilled wells-

A professional team uses a drilling rig to tap into an underground aquifer, then caps the well with a hand or foot pump. These deep wells typically supply more water than hand-dug wells, but the projects are more expensive as they require heavy equipment, fuel, and larger teams of skilled technicians.

Biosand filters-

Layers of sand, gravel and a microbial layer remove 99% of harmful bacteria from the water poured into them. A BSF requires little maintenance and can serve up to 15 people. Families usually keep it at their house for daily use. Learn more about our BSFs.


Some communities have broken or abandoned non-charity: water projects nearby. Often, it's cost-effective to repair and improve these existing projects. We also support maintenance training so communities can prevent future breakdowns.

Rainwater catchments-

Areas with heavy seasonal rain can harness and store pure, natural rainwater. Rooftop gutters direct rainfall through a series of pipes into a holding tank for a community, school, or clinic to use over time.

Spring protection systems-

Spring protection systems safely store and pipe clean water to communities from natural springs. Their impact depends on the water yield; some provide water for a couple hundred people, others can be piped down to several villages.  


Water contaminated by iron, fluoride, bacteria, arsenic, or other pathogens needs to be filtered before it’s drinkable. There’s no one-size-fits-all filter; they vary based on what’s contaminating the water and where the system is being installed. Learn more about our partners who use filtration.


Latrines (toilets) are critical to improving health, prosperity and education opportunities for a community. We fund latrines at schools and clinics as well as empower people to build their own household latrines. Watch a story about latrines bringing girls back to school.

Water projects include more than just the technology – learn what else goes into implementing a charity: water project.

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