Australian Partners

Abundant Water Inc.

Abundant Water Inc (AW) is a registered not for profit organization incorporated in Canberra Australia.

Initially AW developed low-cost, low-tech water filters that could be made by potters in remote communities in Lao PDR. It also collaborated with other international water agencies developing the capacity to adapt and transfer this technology.

Recognising that the challenge was not so much the transfer of water technology but the development of a program that could deliver the technology sustainably and to scale independent of continued external funding AW has developed a working social business model. This focuses on developing profitable local clean water businesses producing practical, sustainable and scalable clean water programs. AW was incorporated in 2009 and is managed by a volunteer Board of professionals in Canberra ACT Australia. The Board consists of engineers, Company Directors, accountants, lawyers and environmental, water and development specialists.

There is a large team employed in Laos delivering, testing and developing the clean water programs. The main focus of AW’s activity is in Lao PDR, with a small pilot in Nepal and scoping programs underway in Timor Leste and the Philippines.

– Capacity development of local Civil Society Organisations
– Program management in challenging scenarios and contexts
– Application of design thinking to design appropriate technology and programs
– Application of systems engineering methods to design appropriate technology
– Application of cultural insights to comprehensively understand the local context
– Monitoring and evaluation
– Cross-cultural communication
– Development of social marketing communication material
– Governance and administration
– Development and delivery of relevant training programs

  • Project to develop appropriate technology filter and roll out program
    Design, production and distribution of an appropriate technology drinking water filter. The requirement was for a filter that was entirely locally produced by local workers, was desirable to local consumers, and affordable locally. Our approach borrowed from existing ANU research and developed it further with field trials and pilots. This process resulted in an innovative clay pot water filter that was produced entirely from local materials. We combined an agile development framework with participatory development. This allowed for a product that fit seamlessly into the local context. By promoting community participation we ensured an approach which was scalable and sustainable.
  • WASH component of an integrated upland development program in Northern Laos
    AW designed a program that provided access to clean water through the provision of drinking water filters and WASH information resources. We established a network of vendors which were then available to maintain and supply replacement filters as needed, thus ensuring project sustainability. AW worked closely with our local counterparts in the implementing partners field office. Initially, this took the form of focus groups and later through capacity development training and implementation guidance and oversight. Independent evaluations identified that the WASH component was one of the strongest in this project and encouraged neighbouring projects to adopt similar approaches.
  • Development of an integrated school drinking water supply and community awareness raising project
    AW designed and developed a suitable drinking water filter for schools that could easily be maintained by local teaching staff without the need for specialist skills. A management and engagement strategy was developed that provided key members of the local community social status for maintaining the water filters as well as promoting the benefits of clean drinking water in the school and surrounding communities. The water users group was so successful that an enterprising member of the local community began selling water filters throughout the local community and surrounding villages.
  • Development of a sustainable and scalable social business model in a remote Laos province
    AW developed the design and provided implementation support for an integrated program that provided sustainable access to clean drinking water in remote communities in Laos. This was achieved through the establishment of a water filter distribution network based on social franchise principles. The social franchise was designed so that the program costs could be 100% funded by program revenue. This program is providing sustainable access to clean drinking water in these communities. The program is designed to grow and the number of the people gaining access to clean drinking water is growing by over 4000 per year.
  • Access to drinking water and livelihoods creation project in post-earthquake Nepal
    This project had two aims; to develop a social business model that would allow families access to clean drinking water after their supplies were disrupted by the earthquake and also restore livelihood to local women through selling water filters. This project is ongoing and has been designed in three stages: Scoping, Piloting, and Scaling. Scoping and piloting are now complete and have demonstrated the viability of a small-scale business to distribute clay pot drinking water filters through women’s micro-finance networks in Nepal.
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