Nearly a billion people globally live without access to safe water.

Half of the developing world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water-related illnesses.

6,000 children die every day from water-related disease.

Because there is such a high failure rate of rural water systems – 30-60% fail within the first 3 years -- Safe Water Network believes a more pragmatic, results orientated approach is required. 

With a focus on local sustainability, meaning, empowering communities to own and manage water systems, we are focused on training and supporting communities so that they can ultimatley stand on their own.

We also believe that the long-term success of a Safe Water Station is dependent on sound management and fiscal responsibility. A station must generate sufficient revenue to cover operating costs and build a reserve for maintenance and capital recovery. At the same time it is important to ensure that the water is priced affordably to ensure fair and equitable access.

To get the right balance, enough people in the village must be willing to pay a nominal amount for safe water to keep the price low and yet still generate the income to cover costs.

For a social enterpirse approach to work, the community must be involved from Day One in governance, as well as make an investment of up to 15% of the upfront capital in the form of cash, buildings and land.

The social enterprise approach incorporates the business and humanitarian elements required to attract the capital and manpower to scale successfully. Our model section of the site addresses in detail the various components of our approach.

Finally, there is growing recognition by governments and such organizations as the Gates Foundation that a market-based approach has the most potential for global, sustainable impact.

Safe Water Network is focused on overcoming the following challenges to local sustainability:

  1. Behavioral obstacles to household demand and willingness to pay for water.
  2. Economic obstacles to local ownership and independence.
  3. Environmental conditions and unreliable source water.
  4. Unpredictable local and regional regulatory environments.
  5. Scaling up a model across a wide range of geographies and socioeconomic situations.

We insist on fair and equitable access for all in communities where we work. We balance cost-effective solutions that allow the lowest possible price for water while ensuring environmental safety and sustainable economics.

Safe Water Network takes a market-based approach to safe-water provision. At the same time, we are committed to ensuring fair and equitable access. Safe Water Network directly empowers communities to own and manage Safe Water Stations by working with government, other NGOs and the private sector to design, launch and manage Safe Water Stations. It also acts as a catalyst, forging Private Public Partnerships, fostering best pratice and encouraging collaboration through publications, forums, workshops and other events. Results oriented, Safe Water Network's team is comprised of engineers, health professionals, and development and business experts based in Accra, New Delhi and New York.

We chose Ghana and India due to the significant need and potential, and because these countries have stable governments, improving infrastructure and active private and public sectors. Through our technical assistance program, we plan on strategically extending support to other regions globally.

Given the high failure rate of water projects, there is tremendous potential to achieve significant impact by building local capacity and capability. Safe Water Network's current phase of work is focused on taking our local success to scale. A market-based approach, however, may not be appropriate for all situations, particulary for smaller populations where it is difficult to generate sufficient revenue to cover operating costs.

We are working with key stakeholders in the public and private sectors to demonstrate that our approach can be replicated and sustained. Our technical assistance training, tool kits and manuals also help other organizations to replicate these methods and approaches.

The barriers to local sustainability significantly overlap with the obstacles of taking our model to scale. The consumer, operational, financial and environmental issues all come into play when attempting to replicate the model across a region.

Specific scale barriers include:

Financial: Although there is a lot of money spent on attempting to solve drinking water, much of it goes toward large, utility type, urban projects. To date, the sector has not attracted signficant sums for rural, off-grid projects at scale. 

Value Chain: There are a variety of support services and capabilities required to keep Safe Water Stations running smoothly on a large scale. However, off-grid communities have lacked the training to manage and operate decentralized water systems. No outlets exist that carry the inventory needed to keep Safe Water Stations operational.

Consumer Awareness: The lack of awareness about the benefit of safe-water usage creates a challenge to accelerate both trial and adoption of safe water on a wide scale, especially when unsafe, free alternatives exist. 

Regulatory: The right balance of regulation and oversight is required to create an environment that allows entrepreneurs and communities the ability to set up businesses that can succeed long-term while protecting the well-being of its citizens and preserving water sources for generations to come.

Safe Water Network has several scale initiatives underway to address these issues including our cluster expansion programs in Ghana and India. Both countries are launching sites in geographic proximity so that a Water Services Entity can cost-effectively provide technical support and spare parts. Our innovations are all aimed at overcoming specific challenges in ways that can streamline a process for standardization, so that it can be cost-effectively replicated at scale. Our forums, events and publications are designed to bring the sector together to explore how together we can reach more people, faster.

We believe that as we continue to expand our local success by demonstrating that the model can be sustained at scale, sufficient capital will become available to reach the many still in need of affordable, safe water. 


We’ve achieved up to 80% penetration in high performing villages, with households purchasing water.

Our sites are generating revenues that cover operating costs and build a reserve for maintenance and expansion.

New lower costs and modular system designs are contributing to financial sustainability at new sites.

Significant health improvements have been demonstrated through independent research.

The actor and philanthropist Paul Newman, along with prominent civic and business leaders founded Safe Water Network in 2006.

Our co-founder, Paul Newman believed that water was going to be one of the planet's great challenges in the 21st century. Safe Water Network is one of his legacy charities.

Paul and others recognized that despite a great deal of money going toward safe water access, the problem globally continued to grow. Safe Water Network was created to take an evidenced-based approach to safe-water provision by determining what worked, what didn't and why. 

Safe Water Network's 990s are available for download below.

Yes! Our fundraisers are currently working in neighborhoods in the greater Dallas area, talking with prospective supporters about our monthly giving program. Face-to-face fundraising is a reliable and cost-effective way to raise funds for Safe Water Stations, and our monthly giving program enables donors to make an ongoing gift to bring safe water to a new person in need – each month. Our fundraisers use a tablet-based app and carry a badge identifying them as a paid representative of Safe Water Network. Contact if you’d like to learn more about our fundraising or our monthly giving program.

Safe Water Network Records Retention Policy

Safe Water Network has established a formal records retention program that ensures the safe keeping of records generated by the organization. Records are to be retained for the period of their immediate use, unless longer retention is required for historical reference, contractual, legal, or regulatory requirements or for other purposes as may be set forth below. Records that are no longer required, or have satisfied their required periods of retention, shall be destroyed. Please note that “records” includes not only documents in paper form, but e-mail messages and all other forms of electronically stored information.

No officer, director, employee, contractor, or volunteer of Safe Water Network shall knowingly destroy a document with the intent to obstruct or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any government department or agency of in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case. This policy covers all records and documents of Safe Water Network.

Safe Water Network reserves the right to amend, alter, and terminate this policy at any time.

Responsibility for Administration

The Chief Financial Officer of Safe Water Network shall be responsible for administering the Records Retention Policy.

Statement of Policy

It is the policy of Safe Water Network:

• To comply with applicable legal and regulatory duties to retain records.

• To possess all records needed for our normal business purposes, including administration of our ongoing professional relationships.

• Therefore the organization directs and expects all officers, directors, employees, contractors, and volunteers to follow the rules and procedures set forth herein. The rules and procedures apply to all computers and other electronic devices provided to employees by Safe Water Network for use in the business of the organization, regardless of whether those computers or devices are used on the organization’s premises or elsewhere.

To obtain a PDF of our document retention policy including a document / file schedule click here.



Safe Water Network Whistleblower Policy & Protection

Safe Water Network is committed to maintaining the highest standards of personal and professional integrity, conduct and ethics. Safe Water Network is further dedicated to acting in good faith with those employees who raise concerns regarding incorrect financial reporting, unlawful activity, or otherwise improper conduct.

It is the responsibility of all directors, officers, and employees to comply with the standards of
Safe Water Network and with all general standards of ethical behavior and to report violations or suspected violations according to the procedure set forth in this document.

If any director, officer, or employee becomes aware of, or has a good faith suspicion that Safe Water Network resources are being used fraudulently, dishonestly, or unethically, he or she is obligated to report this knowledge or suspicion.

Questions, complaints, and concerns should be shared with the employee's supervisor or an appropriate manager to handle the complaint.

When the circumstances do not lend themselves to this open-door approach, Safe Water Network has established a process that will ensure confidentiality and will offer protection against retaliation and negative employment consequences as a result of filing a report:

1. The employee should complete a written report, which should be as specific as possible, including such information as: name of the individual or individuals involved, nature of the unethical act or behavior, details as to how this knowledge was obtained, any written proof, and names of any others who are believed to be witnesses.

2. The report should be submitted to one, any number, or all of the following individuals: Chairman, CEO, or any member of the Executive Committee.

No Retaliation Policy
Safe Water Network, including its directors, officers and management, will not retaliate against a whistleblower for making a complaint as long as he or she is acting in good faith and without malicious intent and has reasonable grounds for believing that an ethical violation exists. A director, officer or employee of Safe Water Network who retaliates against someone who has reported a violation is subject to discipline up to and including removal from the Board of Directors or termination of employment.

The recipient(s) of the report will contact the complainant and acknowledge receipt of the reported violation. An investigation will be conducted promptly by one or more of those individuals named above. Investigations may include any of the following: consulting with legal counsel, internal or external audits, interviews with possible witnesses, or any other lawful method of investigation.

Confirmed violations will be met with appropriate remedial and disciplinary action, including the possibility of termination of employment, removal from office, restitution or criminal prosecution.

If any person to whom these policies apply has questions about them, he or she should address them to the Chairman, CEO, or any member of the Executive Committee.

Safe Water Network appreciates your interest in and support of our work. We respect your privacy and will only collect information with your knowledge and permission. Any personal information that you choose to provide when signing up for our e-newsletters or making a donation online or offline (e.g. name, business affiliations, address, telephone number(s), email address, and comments/questions) will not be sold, shared, or transmitted to any third party. Instead, it will be used to send you e-newsletters, time-sensitive communications, and to respond to any questions or comments you may have.

Whether or not you choose to opt-in to join our SWN mailing list, you can always browse our site without revealing any personal information. However, we reserve the right to gather standard server log data, which would include your IP (Internet Protocol) address, domain name, browser type, operating system, the referring web site, the files downloaded, the pages visited, and the dates/times of those visits.

In accordance with the Federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA), users must be 13 years or older to browse Safe Water Network’s site. By registering for our e-newsletter or making a donation, users represent and warrant that they are 13 or older. may provide links to other websites. We do not support or endorse these sites and are not responsible for any of their content or images. We recommend users read the privacy statements on all websites as policies differ.

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, please contact us at:

Safe Water Network
122 East 42nd Street
Suite 2600
NY, NY 10168
Phone: 212-355-7233