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Kup district, PNG

Safe water means better health

Access to safe water for drinking and cooking and adequate sanitation, is a leading global public health challenge and a major contributor to disease. But there are practical solutions that can turn this situation around.

Did you know?

  • More than 2.6 billion people lack basic sanitation facilities
  • 884 million lack access to safe water

Source: Wateraid

Our water solutions for communities

Our public health engineers and public health promotion specialists work together with poor communities in more than 20 countries to find the right solution. From drilling bore holes and sinking wells to installing rainwater tanks and building toilets. They also ensure that communities are able to use their new equipment to achieve the best possible health outcome.

In Phoupieng village, Laos, a gravity-fed water system proves the best option. It channels clean water from high in the mountains to tanks in the village and into the lives of 500 villagers and the villagers are taught how to keep the water clean and safe to drink through community based hygiene promotion

“Before [the clean water system], the women worked hard. We had to take five containers down to the river and carry them back. Now, we can just take one to the tap, fill it and carry it back to the house … it is much easier,” Ka Wang says as she carries a single bucket to collect water for the day.

Our water solutions in an emergency

Get it right, and lives are saved. Get it wrong, and water borne diseases like cholera spread fast.

Our health engineers and health promotion specialists are renowned for their expertise in providing safe, clean water and sanitation fast, even in the most difficult circumstances. And they ensure that people understand the importance of maintaining good hygiene and sanitation practices to prevent the spread of water borne disease

In chronic emergencies which unfold over longer periods, there’s scope to develop solutions tailored to local conditions.

For example, in Nepal, Darfur and Chad we’re:

  • Providing water, toilets, hand-washing, and bathing and laundry facilities to more than half a million people
  • Supporting local community volunteers to educate others about safe hygiene practices and their role in preventing the spread of diseases
  • Recruiting attendants from camp communities to keep toilets clean
  • Teaching children about hygiene through theatre and song

International advocacy

In 2011, we joined the global campaign calling for a critique of transnational corporations that are shaping the global response to the world water crisis.

Learn more about our work with water

Read more about our work in water and sanitation