Supplying Safe Water

Quench Thirst. Reduce Illness. Transform Lives.

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You can join with Cross Catholic Outreach to quench the thirst of poor families and communities suffering from a lack of clean water. From simple hand pump operated wells to modern communitywide water systems, we offer safe, clean, reliable solutions that reduce dehydration and waterborne illness while exemplifying one of the Church’s seven Corporal Works of Mercy. Clean water projects save lives!

2.1 billion people globally lack safe water at home.

During the dry season, shallow wells run empty, forcing families to seek water from distant sources — even if it means digging into a dry river bed in hopes groundwater will fill the trench. Mothers with babies on their backs are often assigned this chore, and many gather barely enough to drink, with little to nothing left for bathing or other sanitary needs.

The rainy season can bring relief, but it also may create a runoff of contaminants that poison the water supply. Animals, pesticides and even human waste from crude latrines contribute to a toxic stew of parasites and bacteria that is then consumed by families. Intestinal illness runs rampant, especially among the children, whose weaker immune systems just cannot cope. They need a solution — and you can help provide it!

Read on to learn more about our plans to bring clean water to the poor — and how you can help!

Quick Facts

Nearly 3 out of every 10 people worldwide lack a safely managed drinking-water service.

2 billion people depend on a drinking water source contaminated with feces.

144 million people depend on surface water for their drinking needs.

In the least-developed countries, more than 1 in 5 health care facilities lack water service.

Contaminated drinking water causes 485,000 diarrhea deaths annually.

Zambian women spend hours of their day fetching dirty water from hand-dug pits to quench their children’s thirst.

The Problem

Poverty, Thirst, Disease… Repeat

The worst thing about water scarcity isn’t the thirst. It’s the sickness. Before you address the symptoms, you’ve got to understand the cause. In developing countries, the rural poor often lack modern water and sanitation systems — and they have no money to build them. Instead, subsistence farmers depend on shallow wells and open streams for all their water needs, from drinking to bathing to laundry. This deprivation puts them at high risk of waterborne illnesses.

Constantly sick, children miss school, parents lose productivity, and the cost of medicine eats up any savings. Bad health leads to more poverty, which in turn stops communities from solving their water crisis. The cycle continues — unless someone comes alongside them to empower their search for clean, abundant water.

Clean water improves child health and enables them to pursue a path out of poverty.

The Church

Is the Solution to the Water Crisis

Rather than impose outside water programs that may or may not be a good fit for local families, Cross Catholic Outreach seeks to strengthen a resource that already exists in developing countries around the world — local Catholic ministries fighting poverty.

We partner with Catholic bishops, priests, sisters and lay workers who have the heart and the knowledge to effectively serve their needy neighbors, but lack the funds to meet the vast demand. By funding local efforts that equip, educate and empower vulnerable communities for change, you can help ensure that families have clean, abundant water for years to come.

Rural Nicaraguans face a desperate choice between drinking contaminated water and going thirsty. Join Cross Catholic Outreach in an outpouring of God’s love by helping to deliver clean water systems and improved health to our brothers and sisters in need.

Give Clean Water to the Thirsty

Cross Catholic Outreach offers several opportunities for you to quench thirst in developing countries around the world. Your generosity fuels the Church’s work, as we use your gifts to fund water projects run by our trusted ministry partners in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Together, we can satisfy the physical and spiritual thirst of those in need while walking with them on their journey to personal empowerment and community transformation. By this service, we glorify Our Lord who says, “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink… Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

Quench Thirst and End Waterborne Illness

Cross Catholic Outreach wants to empower local priests, sisters and other aid workers to give clean water and the hope of Christ to the world’s poor. But to succeed, we need your help! You can donate below to support clean water programs or find a specific project that moves your heart.

Our partners in providing clean water seek to transform the poor and their communities for the glory of our Lord

How We Help the Poor

Change Even More Lives

Giving monthly is a small way to have a big impact. Your regular support empowers our ministry to respond to urgent needs and fulfill our long-term projects across the world.

Become a monthly donor today and experience the joy of impacting lives every month.

What causes a lack of clean water?

In developing countries, remote villages beyond the reach of modern water and sewage systems depend on shallow, hand-dug wells and even streams for their drinking water. These sources are heavily contaminated by animals, pesticides from nearby farms, and even runoff from unsanitary latrines. Waterborne bacteria and parasites cause frequent illness, especially among children.

What countries lack clean water?

Chronic thirst and waterborne illness are critical issues in developing countries all around the world. We frequently receive urgent requests from our ministry partners in African countries such as Zambia, which lacks infrastructure and experiences brutal dry seasons. We also see great needs in Latin American countries such as Nicaragua, where kidney failure caused by chronic dehydration is a top cause of death. In the Caribbean, we support water projects in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Are we running out of clean water?

In developing countries, it is helpful to think of the problem less in terms of “running out of water” and more in terms of empowering communities to tap into available resources. Many of the communities where we serve have never had a clean, reliable source of drinking water. Ample supplies can be found, but we must provide these communities with the funding and expertise needed to safely access that water. With a Cross Catholic Outreach water system in place, the poor are no longer at the mercy of droughts or the cycle of dry and rainy seasons. Our solutions are for the long term.

How can we help provide clean water? How can we solve the water crisis?

Working together with Catholic parishes and ministry partners around the world, Cross Catholic Outreach can implement genuine solutions and provide much-needed relief from thirst—with your help!

Any response must consider the particular needs, capabilities and culture of the targeted community, and must converge with the vision and capacity of our local ministry partner. Ideally, any solution should combine quality water system construction with an education/empowerment program that equips local leaders and families to maintain a clean water supply and practice good hygiene. This isn’t just about mechanical upgrades — it’s also about changing mindsets and raising expectations. In some cases, we also support the installation of sanitary bathrooms, which further protect the local water table.

How much does it cost to provide clean water?

The cost varies by region and type of project. Several thousand dollars can build a simple hand-pump operated well that serves a small village. A modern water system connecting multiple homes to one reliable source is a larger investment, but can amount to as little as a couple hundred dollars per person to provide a long-term solution to their water needs. The communities themselves typically raise the funds needed for maintenance and operation.

Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2024, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.