A message from Chief Executive Tim Wainwright and Chair of Trustees Tim Clark:

"We are resolutely focused on making clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere. Using these three essentials, people can unlock their potential, break free from poverty and change their lives for good.

"At current rates of progress, everyone in the least developed countries won’t have safely managed water until 2131, or sanitation until 2109. And that is without taking into account the future impact of climate change. We are already working with communities grappling with the impact of this on their lives, and helping others prepare for it in the next few years. But the global response has been far too slow.

"That is where we come in – as catalysts to make faster progress. In 2018–19, we touched hundreds of thousands of lives by delivering services directly to people’s homes, schools and healthcare centres like the one in Talo, Mali. Take a look at the difference clean water has made for doctors, workers and patients:

"For a bigger impact, we also reach people indirectly by strengthening and influencing others who can greatly multiply our own contribution.

"As ever, none of this could have happened without our passionate support network. Individuals, our founders in the UK water industry, partner institutions and companies, and governments have all contributed hugely.

Our heartfelt thanks go to every single person involved."

Tim Wainwright and Tim Clark
Chief Executive Tim Wainwright and Chair of Trustees Tim Clark

Last year, thanks to our generous supporters and partners, we reached millions of people directly and indirectly through our work in communities, schools and healthcare facilities.

An illustration of a woman at a water pump

We supported 3,251 communities to reach the following numbers of people in or near their homes:

  • 321,000 with clean water – by installing 1,754 water points, rehabilitating 6,501 water points, and supporting 124 piped systems
  • 442,000 with decent toilets 320,000 with good hygiene through better facilities, and
  • 1,062,000 through behaviour change activities
An illustration of hygiene lessons

We supported 827 schools to reach the following numbers of children and staff:

  • 156,000 with clean water
  • 156,000 with decent toilets
  • 230,000 with good hygiene through better facilities and 260,000 through behaviour change activities
An illustration of a man collecting water from a tap

We supported 149 healthcare facilities to reach the following numbers of patient visits and staff:

  • 1,194,000 with clean water
  • 1,048,000 with decent toilets
  • 788,000 with good hygiene through better facilities
  • 146,000 through behaviour change activities
Illustration of woman at a water tank

We worked with 277 partner organisations on 200 projects. Our partners included:

  • 98 governmental bodies and 85 non-governmental organisations from the local to the global
  • 22 networks or alliances, and a wide range of others
  • We also helped 87 rural and urban authorities improve the management of water, sanitation and hygiene services in their area, including 32 utilities

Directly reaching people near their homes

"I am happy that as a community we have a new life of having clean water. My hope for the future is to see my son grow up healthier than we used to."

Vahia from Mozambique struggled to find clean water during her first pregnancy, but that has all changed for her second pregnancy since we installed a borehole.

WaterAid/ Chileshe Chanda

"Our school has 120 students. We get water from our school tap and we no longer have to send students to the community borehole."

Headteacher Weere and his students of Father Bill School in Uganda can now concentrate on education thanks to our work with the H&M Foundation the Ugandan Government.

WaterAid/ H&M Foundation/ James Kiyimba

Protecting staff and patients in healthcare centres

"Even if we give vaccinations against diarrhoea to children, they still get sick if they drink dirty water and ignore other hygiene practices."

Nurse Lennie N'guni who is looking after Virginia and her baby Collins in Mwanza Clinic in Zambia. As well as new facilities, we trained staff to teach good hygiene.

WaterAid/ PATH/ Chileshe Chanda

We will only reach everyone, everywhere with clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene if, in addition to directly delivering services ourselves, we build the capacity of local institutions to deliver better quality, sustainable services.

There is little precedent in measuring the reach of this type of work. Last year, we piloted a new approach in five countries: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Nepal, Rwanda and Uganda, to report on the people reached. For full figures of our reach and impact in these countries, see our full annual report.

Through new or improved services, we reached hundreds of thousands of people with clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene through better facilities and behaviour change activities, in or near people's homes, schools and healthcare facilities.

Moses Kasanda Kolofwati, 41, fixes a tap stand at one of the houses in Kandeke Community. Ndola City, Zambia. October 2018.
Moses Kasanda Kolofwati, 41, fixes a tap stand at one of the houses in Kandeke Community. Ndola City, Zambia. October 2018.
WaterAid/ Chileshe Chanda

By influencing change at scale, we were able to reach even more people. We did this by working with governments to strengthen the institutions that deliver these services, providing models for others to replicate, and advocating for changes in policy and practice.

We scaled up successful pilot projects in Mali, Myanmar and Nepal. We cocreated national guidance and policy in eSwatini, Nigeria and Tanzania. We shared our knowledge on improving nutrition and reducing antimicrobial resistance with tens of countries. And we helped secure a resolution at the World Health Assembly to end cholera. Together we’re making a bigger difference.


Improved facilities in dispensaries in Tanzania

"Many expectant mothers didn't want to deliver here because they never trusted the available facilities. I am excited about all these improvements here."

Nurse Grace Mabera Lufu in Kakora Dispensary in Geita, Tanzania, where sanitation and hygiene conditions have greatly improved.

WaterAid/ James Kiyimba

"I feel better now. When I work, I do not fear infections, because we have potable water and soap to wash our hands properly and clean our materials and spaces."

Matron Salimata cares for Kadia and her new baby. Thanks to everyone who supported our Water Effect Appeal, services are transformed for the better at Talo Health Centre.

WaterAid/ Basile Ouedraogo

Securing a global resolution on cholera

"Every household has the same situation in our village. They also have to fetch water from afar. The water is not safe to drink. It causes sickness."

Anisha is one of thousands of children who will benefit after several years of influencing the Government in Nepal to approve guidelines to improved services.

WaterAid/ Mani Karmacharya

Our fundraising 

We introduced new ways of engaging with people, alongside new ways of doing familiar things. Thank you to everyone who supported us. Without you, and our many volunteers helping us in offices and at events, we would not be able to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for so many people.

The Water Effect

Our biggest fundraiser focused on life for communities without water. It underpinned all of our activities and raised over £2 million thanks to generous support.

WaterAid/ Guilhem Alandry

Building resilience to climate change

With support from HSBC, we helped Shila set up a water committee in her community in Bangladesh, after floods and storms made the water unsafe to drink.

WaterAid/ HSBC/ Drik/ Habibul Haque

Thames loves Malawi

Thames Water's campaign, Thames Loves Malawi, has just celebrated reaching £1 million. The campaign reached thousands with water and sanitation in two towns in Malawi.

Thames Water/ Stewart Turkington

Our finances

The UK charity sector has seen a consistent decline in the volume and value of funds raised by the public over the last three years. Once again, we bucked the trend last year and grew income sourced from the UK public by over 2%.


Total income grew by 10% from the previous financial year, with particular successes in grant funding from large institutions and corporates. Overall, we generated restricted income in excess of £34 million, the highest level reported to date. 

We are particularly grateful for the continued support of 354,000 regular givers, of which 37,800 were new donors. This regular support provides a financial base that makes us more resilient in difficult times.

Graphic showing: Our total income last year was £91.4 million.   Of this:   £45.9m came from individual supporters £21.1m came from corporate and trust supporters  £12.8m came from other WaterAid member countries  £11.1m came from governments and other institutions  £0.5m came from other sources


Total expenditure grew by 1% from the previous financial year. Two main reasons account for this limited growth in spend. In 2018-19, we went through an ambitious planning period to scale up our programmes in the countries we work in over the next two years. As part of that planning a priority focus was securing significant amounts of grant income for specific activities which would commence in future years.   

We also decided to increase our operational reserve funds to the upper end of our target range following an assessment of increased operational and economic risks in the countries in which we work.  

Last year we were able to invest 26% of our expenditure in raising essential funds. This helped our income increase by 10%, allowing us to reach even more vulnerable communities. For each pound we invested in fundraising we raised £4.29, which is testament to the ongoing generosity of our supporters.

Graphic showing: Total expenditure was £82.6 million.  Of this:  26% was spent on fundraising activities 29% was spent on supporting partners to deliver water, sanitation and hygiene  27% was spent on sector strengthening and capacity building 12% went on influencing policy in water, sanitation and hygiene  6% went on supporting WaterAid globally
Graphic showing income and expenditure between 2014 - 2019

For a more detailed financial review and more stories of our impact this financial year, please download our full UK annual report 2018-19.

Thank you

Our successes in helping people transform their lives are only made possible by working together with individuals and organisations who share our vision. Their passion and commitment drive us forward. To everyone who contributed to our work last year, thank you.

WaterAid/ James Kiyimba

We've achieved so much from the UK, and as a federation, globally we've managed to extend our reach even further.

See our global annual report