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WaterAid - Delivering the water of life

pic1More than one billion people in the world lack access to good quality drinking water; around 2.4 billion people don't have adequate sanitation. The demand for water is increasing at a staggering rate. It is estimated that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in countries suffering water scarcity.

Nirmala lives in a Nepalese village and used to get water from a bamboo flow pump, but the water was dirty and the bamboo would quickly rot. Following assistance from WaterAid UK and the installation of a hand pump, Nirmala said, "The water used to smell bad. But now the water quality is good from this new hand pump. It has improved health and more children are clean. Before the hand pump there used to be a lot of diarrhoea, but now it is reduced."

A new Australian not-for-profit organisation has been established to provide assistance in developing countries with the provision of clean water supply and sanitation, promoting good hygiene practices and providing training on the maintenance and upkeep of the new facilities. With very strong support from both the Australian water industry and Australian non-government international development organisations, the agency will increase the capacity of local people to develop and maintain water services and sanitation infrastructure.

Based on the very successful WaterAid UK model, AquaAid Australia Ltd (hopefully soon to be called WaterAid Australia) will aim to be the long-term charity of choice for the Australian water industry. The company has been very encouraged by the support of Australian water utilities. It anticipates fund raising in creative ways such as salary deductions from staff, national golf days and other quality and fun events. Water utilities will offer their customers optional additions to their bills, giving them the chance to easily support WaterAid’s vital endeavour

Saward Dawson has been able to support this new initiative in its “start up” phase by providing services including:

bullet Preparing an application for income tax exemption and guidance on related tax law.
bullet Looking at smarter ways to remunerate staff under the not-for-profit rules
bullet Providing input into the design of the company’s internal control framework
bullet Reviewing the company’s budget for the next three years and providing additional information where required
bullet Designing and implementing the QuickBooks accounting system and training key staff and
bullet Designing a reporting “pack” that highlights critical information to the company’s board

pic1As a start, a number of pilot projects are being undertaken in Papua New Guinea, India, Nepal and Vietnam. Projects have been chosen based on need, technical viability, commitment of the benefiting community and cost effectiveness. Using low cost technologies that are appropriate to local cultural, technical and geographical conditions, the initial projects will typically cost between $50-75,000.

To learn more and support this really worthwhile initiative, visit the temporary website at www.watermattersaustralia.org and click on “WaterAid Styled Body”.

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