Our history

We started because no charity like us existed. We'll end when no charity like us is needed. Thanks to amazing supporters like you, this is our story.

WaterAid/Geoff Crawford
1981

The Thirsty Third World Conference brings members of the UK water industry together. They decide to unite, to reach the millions of people living without clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.

1981

WaterAid is officially established on July 21, 1981. Our first projects start in Zambia and Sri Lanka.

1987

WaterAid Canada’s history stretches back to 1987, when it was founded by Michael Lubbock, and established as a registered Canadian charity under the name WaterCan/EauVive.

1991

HRH Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, becomes WaterAid's first president.

1993

We begin work on our 1,000th project.

1993

We fund the Hitosa Gravity Scheme, the largest single water supply scheme in Ethiopia, reaching 50,000 people.

1994

Our first advocacy report, Mega-slums: the coming sanitary crisis, is released. 

1999

Thanks to amazing people like you and our partners around the world, we've enabled over six million people to build a better life.  

2000

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aim to halve the number of people living without clean water by 2015.

2000

Alongside other groups, we successfully lobby to get sanitation added to the list of MDGs.

2002

The UN declares clean water a human right.

2003

We're now working in 15 countries.

2004

WaterAid becomes a global organization, welcoming America and Australia as members.

2008

The UN declares an International Year of Sanitation. With toilets still a neglected topic, we address the UN commission for sustainable development, highlighting their importance.

2009

WaterAid Sweden is founded.

2009

We've reached 13.4 million people with clean water and 8.1 million with decent toilets.

2010

Access to decent toilets is declared a human right.

2013

WaterAid Japan is founded. WaterCan joins federation, becoming WaterAid Canada.

2015

In May, we launch an ambitious new global strategy to reach everyone, everywhere with clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.

2016

WaterAid India celebrate becoming a WaterAid member.

2016

We've reached 24.9 million people with clean water, 24 million with decent toilets and 16.7 million with good hygiene, and counting...

Just $25 can help provide one person with access to clean water.

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