WaterAid’s JUST WATER detox challenge gives communities around the world the gift of clean water

Posted by
Anna France Williams
20 December 2018
Fundraising, Our supporters
Thumbnail WaterAid/Sarah Raoufian

To kickstart the New Year, WaterAid has launched Just Water, the toughest abstinence charity challenge where participants get sponsored for drinking nothing but water for a month. 

The fundraising opportunity is aimed at those wanting to detox and reset their systems after their festive indulgences whilst also giving the gift of clean water to people around the world. By binning the booze, canning the caffeine and dodging the juice in this extreme test of willpower, people can help transform lives and make a difference.

Joanna Gill, 30, a composer from London, started the Just Water challenge in January 2018 and proved herself to be the ultimate participant by remarkably drinking only water for a whole year. The impetus behind Joanna’s decision to take part was hearing about the drought in South Africa and remembering her childhood visit to her missionary parents in Zambia where she heard stories of women and children walking miles each day to collect water. 

Joanna is now nearing the end of her year-long challenge and has raised over £1,000 for WaterAid to help provide clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to some of the poorest communities globally. She is now encouraging others to do a just water detox for charity this January.

Joanna said: 

“Most people think I’m crazy to have taken on this challenge. We are so fortunate to have water readily available but 1 in 9 people around the world do not have access to clean water in or near their home - that’s why I wanted to raise awareness and fundraise for WaterAid. Clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene are basic human rights that should be normal for everyone, everywhere. 

“I'd encourage others to do Just Water for one month. My tip is to drink sparkling water and a slice of lemon as a treat. I also found that dark chocolate helped too.

“I’ve been asked what my first drink on 1st January will be. I’m pleased to say that I will be celebrating my achievement with a glass of red wine!”

WaterAid is inviting others to sign up to Just Water this January, raising money by giving up all drinks other than water for a month, or longer, and giving others the gift of clean water: https://www.wateraid.org//justwater.

If a whole month without a morning caffeine fix or Friday night pint proves too tough, participants can simply ‘pass the glass’ each week, taking on the challenge for one week in turn.


For more information, please contact:
Anna France-Williams, Senior Media Officer, [email protected] or +44 (0)207 793 5048,
or Laura Crowley, PR Manager, [email protected] 
or +44 (0)207 793 4965. Or call our after-hours press line on
+44 (0)7887 521 552 or email [email protected]


WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to clean water and sanitation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 25.8 million people with clean water and 25.1 million people with decent toilets. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org/uk, follow @WaterAidUK or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wateraid.

  • 844 million people in the world – one in nine – do not have clean water close to home.[1]

  • 2.3 billion people in the world – almost one in three – do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]

  • Around 289,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's more than 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.[3]

  • Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity.[4]

  • Just £15 can provide one person with clean water.[5]

  • To find out if countries are keeping their promises on water and sanitation, see the online database www.WASHwatch.org


[1] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[2] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[3] washwatch.org

[4] World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage

[5] www.wateraid.org/uk