Abundant Water: Providing Access to Sustainable, Safe Drinking Water in Remote Villages, Lao PDR

Abundant Water implements clean water programs in Lao PDR through the local manufacture of low-tech, low cost clay pottery water filters.

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Abundant Water

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $50k - $100k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 10,000 - 50,000

Organization type

  • Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water

Headquarters location: Country

  • Australia

Headquarters location: City

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory We are an all volunteer Board of Directors working in a variety of professions.

Location(s) of impact

Laos PDR: Primarily Siasombon Province



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Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Abundant Water (AW) addresses the lack of access to clean, safe drinking water in remote communities and where current interventions are not effective or sustainable. Providing a reliable clean water supply reduces water-borne disease, deforestation and gender disempowerment. AW's clean water program also provides lasting benefits in local livelihoods providing employment/business by servicing, replacing and selling water filter systems.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Abundant Water (AW) has developed a unique low-cost low-tech water filter and trains potters to manufacture these to a proven safe standard. AW partners with local organisations in training local entrepreneurs in business development and sales and marketing to develop a local capacity to provide their own clean water. Working collaboratively these projects lead to local ownership, sustainability and scaleability. AW engages with communities at a grass-roots level to ensure that our product and service meets their specific needs and has a high buy-in enabling rapid development of the local market. Working within the local community enables a ready identification of early adopters who, once trained, become the distribution channel for filter sales. AW's social business model develops revenue streams from the sale of filters, the livelihood training and ongoing mentoring and support.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

Abundant Water benefits whole communities enabling: 1 remote and bottom of pyramid (BoP) communities and families who achieve access to reliable, affordable clean water 2 local civil society organisations receive training in business development, business management practices and achieve commercial viability 3 local entrepreneurs establish viable small businesses, learn how to develop their market and manage sales and become and example of locally grown business and gender empowerment 4 schools acquire a reliable supply of clean water, improved student health and a focus for WASH education 5 women and girls are relieved from harvesting firewood thereby saving up to 10 hours per week that can be used more productively to improve school attendance 6 women and girls spend less time over smokey fires thereby reducing smoke induced illness 7 potters develop a profitable businesses

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

1. Individual donations or gifts: 20% 2. Grants: 33% 3. Corporate contributions: 33% 4. Earned income: 14%

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Abundant Water has piloted and proven a scaleable social business model to provide clean water at village level. Once vendors have been educated in how to operate a profitable social enterprise selling water filters, any profits obtained from sales can be then reinvested into expanding output, which will in turn employs more clay potters, while also ensuring an ever-increasing number of communities have access to previously unavailable clean drinking water.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

The "Aha" moment: AW realised we have a unique transferrable skill set. Many NGO's provide WASH programs. Donors are now looking for programs that are sustainable, scaleable and market-based requiring a new skill set. Also, filters produced in China and Thailand are becoming available. Such products; however, lack a distribution and service network. The need for clean drinking water is vast and no single organisation can meet the needs or the increasing demand. AW views this landscape and timing as the perfect opportunity to develop our Siasombon Province incubator hub to achieve greater scale by transferring knowledge to other water NGO's and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) that wish to replicate AW's successful social business program.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Pamela West

Hi Mike,
Great job with creating and making water filters more available in remote areas! What's your long-term plan in terms of financial sustainability? Do you continue to provide financial support to the local pottery makers once they've learned how to make the filters or do you pull out trusting that they'll become sustainable on their own?

Photo of Mike

Hi Pamela! Apologies for the delay in replying. No, we don't pull out! We re in for the long haul! Our long- term aim is financial self sufficiency at the local level. We continue to provide support and assistance in establishing a vendor network and supporting our vendors. We have an in-country program manager (fully remunerated) and rotate volunteer interns (primarily uni students) through our hub in Laos.

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