Bringing clean water and sanitation
to people around the globe
one village at a time
How Community Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Education Projects Work
TYPES OF WATER PROJECTS
There are a number of types of water projects -- the main distinction is the source of the water.
Surface water from springs or rivers may be available. If it is clean spring water, then it can be captured and piped to a community water tap. If it is not (usually water from a stream or lake is not), then the water can be treated. Surface water is typically a sustainable source of water.
Ground water may be available. If the water table is close to the surface, a shallow well may be drilled or even hand dug. The difficulty is that small changes in the water table are common and may leave the community without any water supply. Also, shallow wells depend on water near the surface, which may be contaminated or may become contaminated unless the wells are carefully constructed and the surface overlying the shallow groundwater is protected from contamination.
Deep wells are less likely to become contaminated or be subject to fluctuations in the water table. However, they are expensive. Also, the rate at which the deep aquifer is recharged by water from the surface may be considerably less than the water withdrawn by the well. Withdrawals in excess of recharge are not sustainable over the long term.
In many areas, there is plentiful rainfall during the wet season, but insufficient rainfall during the dry season. Solutions as simple as concrete cisterns or small sand dams may be used to store rainwater or surface water for later use. Rainfall harvesting off of buildings and storage in containers can be used for both drinking water and watering of vegetable gardens.
THINGS TO CONSIDER IN CREATING A WATER PROJECT
The first thing to decide is what involvement does your group want in deciding the particular water project it plans to fund.
If your group wants to be actively involved and choose the community project, the first challenge is finding the community you will help. Most international organizations involved in water direct your contributions to a particular region or country, but they lack the ability to identify the particular community project your money will fund. For example, Church World Service, WaterAid, Water for People, Care, WorldVision, Living Water International and most other organizations serve particular countries or regions, but do not allow their contributors to specify individual community projects. A few organizations identify particular community projects: e.g., the Advance of the United Methodist Church, Global Ministries and Blue Planet Run all identify some individual community water and sanitation projects.
If your group wants a closer connection to the community that it hopes to help than these organizations typically allow, you can contact us for help in identifying a community. We like to know who our money will help and how our money is being used. It gives us a deeper sense of ownership in the project and helps fundraising.
If your group actually gets involved in project implementation, please bear in mind the following key considerations in designing sound projects. And even if your group is not directly involved in project implementation, you should satisfy yourself that the project you are funding has considered these items.