Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology

B12, 6020 - 2nd Street SE
Calgary, AB T2H 2L8
CEO: Shauna Curry
Board Chair: David P. O'Brien

Charitable Reg. #:86375 1616 RR0001


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

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Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity’s website.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 76 cents are available for programs.

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About Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology :

Founded in 2001, Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST) is a licensed engineering firm that teaches people how to get safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene at home using simple and affordable technologies. Its mission is to provide technical training and consulting, and act as a center of expertise in water and sanitation in developing countries.

CAWST states on its website that over three billion people around the world do not have access to safe water or proper sanitation, trapping them in the poverty cycle. As a capacity builder, CAWST does not directly deliver safe drinking water and sanitation facilities to its clients. Its strategy is to educate and train people to solve the problem themselves with the hope that those trained will pass on their knowledge to others, ultimately helping entire communities have access to safe water and sanitation.

CAWST reaches its clients through three routes: directly, through WET Centres, and using virtual services. CAWST’s global services staff, which includes engineers, teachers, researchers and other professionals, provide clients with training workshops, technical support, consulting, and education materials. CAWST states that cumulatively, it has delivered 1,783 training workshops and 614 consulting visits in 52 countries.

CAWST partners with local organizations in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Honduras, Nepal, and Zambia to operate six Water Expertise and Training (WET) Centres. CAWST trains local staff so that they can provide the same services that CAWST’s global staff deliver to help people create solutions for better water and sanitation access. CAWST states in its most recent F2017 annual report that it is placing priority on WET Centres in Ethiopia and Zambia.

CAWST also provides open-access, online resources on its website for clients. Building on the success of its virtual services, CAWST is developing an online learning strategy. It states in its F2017 annual report that 11,628 people from 179 countries were registered users of virtual services during the year, downloading resources 5,145 times.

CAWST reports that cumulatively, 34,968 people have been trained in CAWST and WET Centre workshops as of F2017, and over 6,000 organizations have been supported by CAWST, WET Centres and/or virtual services in 180 countries.

In F2017, CAWST secured a two-year, $800,000 USD grant from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve sanitation capacity building efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

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Results and Impact

CAWST reports on key outcome metrics cumulatively. As of F2017, 14.9 million people have benefitted from better water or sanitation because of CAWST and WET Centre clients’ projects, 8.3 million people have been trained by clients using CAWST’s training and education materials (approximately 600,000 in the F2017 year), and 1,490 organizations in 87 countries have implemented water or sanitation projects after being trained by CAWST.

CAWST acknowledges the importance of tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and implementing appropriate data tracking methods to accurately measure program outputs and outcomes. After reviewing its KPIs in F2017, CAWST realized that its measurement tools sometimes double-counted CAWST clients and people accessing safe water and sanitation because of CAWST’s work. Outcome metrics as of F2017 (reported above) have been adjusted to remove double counting. Beyond this adjustment, and the charity is also revising its measurement system to improve how it captures and reports on results. 

Charity Intelligence has given CAWST an Average impact rating based on demonstrated impact per dollar spent.

Impact Rating: Average

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Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST) is a large charity that received $11.8m in donations in F2018. Administrative costs are 9% of revenue (excluding investment income) and fundraising costs are 15% of donations. Per dollar donated, 76 cents go to the cause, which is within Cis reasonable range for overhead spending. Ci did not include donations from related parties (CAWST’s Board Chair, other directors, and CEO) in donations when calculating the fundraising cost ratio ($10.5m in F2018, $2.9m in F2017, and $5.5m in F2016, representing 75% of total donations over the three years).

CAWST’s funding reserves of $22.3m can cover annual program costs at the F2018 level for five years.

CAWST’s audited financial statements are missing cost allocations to fundraising and administration. This important information comes from CAWST’s annual filing with the Charities Directorate. Ideally, CAWST's auditors, KPMG, would report this information in the audited financial statements.

Charity Intelligence has discussed this report with CAWST. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on September 23, 2019 by Katie Khodawandi.


Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 9.2%19.3%10.1%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 14.6%12.3%14.0%
Total overhead spending 23.9%31.6%24.1%
Program cost coverage (%) 500.6%455.1%423.6%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 11,7634,6567,402
Government funding 3124622
Fees for service 20210582
Investment income 322196169
Total revenues 12,5995,4187,654
Program costs 4,4473,4003,499
Administrative costs 1,1331,008752
Fundraising costs 190217267
Total spending 5,7704,6254,518
Cash flow from operations 6,8287933,136
Capital spending 7029126
Funding reserves 22,26315,47714,823

Note: Ci adjusted donations and government funding for changes in deferred contributions to report amounts received on a cash basis, affecting total revenue by $6.7m in F2018, ($41k) in F2017, and $2.8m in F2016. Similarly, Ci did not include amortization of deferred capital contributions in donations and instead reported amounts received during the year, affecting total revenue by ($42k) in F2018, ($42k) in F2017, and $119k in F2016. Ci recognized unrealized foreign exchange gains in investment income and unwound it from administrative costs, increasing total revenue and expenses by $13k in F2018, $45k in F2017, and $25k in F2016. Loss on sale of marketable securities, as a non-cash item, was also unwound from administrative costs, reducing total expenses by $10k in F2018, $28k in F2017, and $46k in F2016. Expense breakdowns come from the charity’s T3010 CRA filings and depreciation has been backed out of program, administrative and fundraising costs pro-rata.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 24

Avg. Compensation: $87,099

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2018

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Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

Undesignated funding continues to be our largest and most important source of revenue, enabling us to be responsive and serve clients who have the most pressing needs. It allows us to be strategic and entrepreneurial as we look for ways to accelerate our reach and impact, and support organizations who access our services each year.

Our financial reserves provide the necessary stability to support long-term capacity development, enabling water, sanitation, and hygiene practitioners and organizations to access our services so they can build local skills and knowledge. Our reserves are calculated as the month-end cash balance divided by the average forecasted monthly expenditures, six months forward. As at December 2018, with no further funding and maintaining our current size, we could operate for three and a half years. Our goal is to build our financial sustainability and longer-term commitments with WET Centres to at least five years.

Moving forward, we will be ramping up our fundraising efforts, executing on a multi-year strategy to match up to $12 million dollars, generously donated by David P. O’Brien and Geoff Cumming. Through this match, our goal is to raise a total of $24 million dollars. This will allow us to accelerate our progress and tackle the worldwide shortage of local water, sanitation, and hygiene professionals.

Charity Contact

Website: www.cawst.org
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact person: Tal Woolsey, Director of Public Engagement & Donor Initiatives 

Tel: 403-243-3285 ext. 231