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Delivering services

We help communities plan, build and manage water supplies and toilets.
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We work with poor communities to set up practical and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene projects based on their needs.

Our work doesn't just involve installing taps and toilets. We back this up with education about good hygiene (e.g. the importance of washing your hands), so that the health benefits of safe water and sanitation are maximized.

We work closely with local partners and community members to carry out an assessment an area and agree from the start on the best methods or technologies to install.

We also help communities address water depletion and contamination through appropriate water resource management and effective sanitation.

Many of the countries where WaterAid works are disproportionately affected by natural disasters, such as droughts and floods, but lack the required infrastructure, disaster preparedness systems and resources to prepare for and manage these situations. We help build resilience to these events, for example by building latrines and water points above ground level in flood-prone areas, and helping communities monitor rainfall in areas susceptible to droughts.

Simple measures like collecting and storing rainwater can help communities protect their local environment, while also ensuring they have safe, clean water to drink.

Sustainable solutions

Rainwater collection

WaterAid helps to build rainwater collection (or rainwater harvesting) structures that local communities can use to safely collect rainwater from roofs and store it in tanks fitted with faucets. In areas where water tables are falling, having this alternative water supply can relieve pressure on groundwater sources and ensure that communities still have safe drinking water to drink if wells dry up.

Community-based water resource management

WaterAid helps communities living in areas susceptible to drought, such as drier areas of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger in West Africa, to monitor rainfall, groundwater levels and abstraction rates. With support from local governments, communities use this data to make decisions governing the allocation of water for different purposes, including drinking water for humans and animals, and agriculture.

Composting latrines

Composting or ecological sanitation (EcoSan) latrines benefit local agriculture by creating a safe, renewable, environmentally friendly source of fertile compost from human waste. They often have two pits: while one pit is in use the other full pit is sealed while its contents decompose.

Biogas systems

Biogas systems break down a mixture of waste including human waste from latrines and animal dung to produce biogas, a fuel that can be used to power lights and kitchen stoves.

Growing new plants

WaterAid encourages local communities to plant trees close to water sources as their roots help prevent soil erosion and help the earth to retain rainwater. Growing fruit and vegetables offers a safe way of disposing of wastewater, while also improving communities' nutrition.


Where possible, water and sanitation facilities are constructed from low-cost materials that are readily available locally. The photo above shows the base of a rainwater collection tank in Nicaragua made with old plastic water bottles collected by schoolkids.

Technical briefs

These are a selection of some of the technologies we and our partners use to reach the poorest and most marginalized people with water, sanitation and hygiene services.

Water Sanitation