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:

[Charity Rating: 3/5]



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) 81 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 (WASH) 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. The charity notes that improving WASH could prevent almost 10% of all disease in the world, and that as many as 50% of WASH projects fail after two to five years due to inadequate installation or lack of maintenance.

As a capacity builder, CAWST does not directly deliver water and sanitation facilities to its clients. It runs two main programs, Global Service Delivery, and Engage WASH Sector Leaders & Global Citizens. No breakdown of spending by program was provided by the charity. Of the $4.7m CAWST spent on programs in F2020, $3.2m went to international programming. The charity reported reaching 1.45 million people by 88 organizations in F2019.

Global Service Delivery: This program accounts for the majority of CAWST's spending, and includes its virtual and consulting services, and seven Water Expertise and Training (WET) Centres. CAWST partners with and trains local organizations in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, Nepal, and Zambia to operate seven Water Expertise and Training (WET) Centres. WET Centres provide the same services that CAWST’s staff deliver at the local level. CAWST also provides open-access, online resources on its website and two to five day training workshops on WASH topics. Additionally, through its consulting services, CAWST trains individuals and WASH practitioners on how to sustain demand for WASH, select appropriate technical options, and monitor WASH installations to improve sustainability. In F2019, CAWST delivered training and consulting support to 36 organizations in 18 countries, and expanded from working with four to eight training organizations globally.

Engage WASH Sector Leaders & Global Citizens: CAWST also works with NGOs, governments and other organizations looking to improve their WASH services. Some of its clients include UNICEF, World Health Organization, World Vision, Rotary International, and Oxfam. CAWST reports that as of F2019, its online services have been accessed by over 5,500 organizations in 200 countries and territories.

The data above reflects CAWST's most current F2019 Annual Report, while the financial analysis uses CAWST's F2020 audited financial statements.

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Results and Impact

In F2019, CAWST provided 882,149 people with better WASH in households, through 83 of its clients, and 156,862 people with better WASH in institutions, by 60 of its clients.

The charity reported that in F2019, 130 of its clients said CAWST helped them design and strengthen the quality and sustainability of their WASH programs, or reach more people, and 91 clients said it helped them design WASH capacity development services for other organizations, strengthen the quality and sustainability of these services, or reach more people.

Charity Intelligence highlights these key results. They may not be a complete representation of Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology's 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) received $8.0m in donations in F2020. It also received $1.7m in government funding. Administrative costs are 16% of revenue (excluding investment income) and fundraising costs are 4% of donations. Per dollar donated, 81 cents go to the cause, which is within Ci's 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 ($3.8m in F2020, $2.3m in F2019, and $10.5m in F2018, representing 60% of total donations over the past three years).

CAWST’s funding reserves of $28.3m can cover annual program costs at the F2020 level for six years.

This report is an update that has been sent to CAWST for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on August 16, 2021 by Rachel Leteta.


Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 15.5%16.7%9.2%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 3.8%2.6%14.7%
Total overhead spending 19.2%19.2%24.0%
Program cost coverage (%) 602.0%525.9%500.6%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 8,0057,44211,753
Government funding 1,652614343
Fees for service 103165202
Investment income 674475322
Total revenues 10,4338,69612,619
Program costs 4,7054,6954,447
Administrative costs 1,5091,3681,133
Fundraising costs 158132190
Total spending 6,3726,1955,770
Cash flow from operations 4,0612,5016,849
Capital spending 242470
Funding reserves 28,32524,68922,263

Note: Ci adjusted donations and government funding for changes in deferred contributions to report amounts received on a cash basis, affecting total revenue by $3.6m in F2020, $2.2m in F2019, and $6.7m in F2018. Ci recognized unrealized foreign exchange gains and change in unrealized gain on investments in investment income, increasing total revenue by $221k in F2020, $3k in F2019, and $13k in F2018. Expense breakdowns come from the charity’s T3010 CRA filings. Deferred contributions from the board chair were excluded from the fundraising cost ratio.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 29

Avg. compensation: $110,739

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 F2020

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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. Tel: 403-243-3285


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001