The Bezos Earth Fund announced a $10 million grant to Water.org to increase access to sustainable, climate-resistant water and sanitation services in developing countries where inefficient water infrastructure exacerbates climate impacts and freshwater access.
Purifying and pumping water requires huge amounts of electricity, much of which is wasted due to massive leakage in many places. On average, one-third of all water that utilities pump through their pipes is lost to leaks. In many places, losses are over half, which wastes energy and can drive up greenhouse gas emissions. The partnership advances a new Water and Climate Philanthropic Fund that will unlock $1 billion in investment, providing small-scale water utilities with needed financing to upgrade inefficient water and sanitation infrastructure and creating lasting water and sanitation solutions for 100 million people.
"Improving and expanding the ability of local utility providers to deliver safe water and improved sanitation services is critical to helping people living in poverty build resiliency to the effects of climate change like water scarcity, droughts, and floods," said Matt Damon, co-founder of Water.org. "In partnership with the Bezos Earth Fund, we're dedicated to solving the water crisis, which is inextricably linked to the climate crisis."
The partnership advances a new Water and Climate Philanthropic Fund that will unlock $1 billion in investment, providing small-scale water utilities with needed financing to upgrade inefficient water and sanitation infrastructure
As global temperatures rise and weather events intensify, those living in poverty in developing countries will feel the impacts of climate change first and worst. Freshwater supplies are in danger of not meeting demand, and climate-related events could destroy vulnerable community infrastructure.
"Access to safe water is crucial," said Lauren Sánchez, Bezos Earth Fund Vice Chair. "Water.org's efforts to tackle the water crisis and improve access to safe water and sanitation also reduces water and energy waste. We're proud to help this team bring access to safe water to millions of people while helping advance critical climate and biodiversity goals."
Using tested methods for microloans, Water.org will apply these methods to small utility-scale water and sanitation infrastructure in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Kenya, and Brazil. The funding will support market expertise and local technical assistance to promote policy change and implementation for its program development.
"This investment represents a rare win-win-win. By addressing leakage, water is made available to many more people, health and livelihoods are improved, communities are made more resilient, and we can reduce carbon emissions," said Bezos Earth Fund President and CEO Andrew Steer. "More than this, each dollar of philanthropic funding will leverage an additional $16 in capital for water and sanitation financing."