Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology

Upper 424 Aviation Road NE
Calgary, AB T2E 8H6
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) acts as a centre of expertise in water and sanitation for poor people in developing countries. The charity is a licensed engineering firm and improves access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation in developing countries by building the knowledge and skills of people locally so that they can create affordable, sustainable solutions for themselves.

CAWST serves its clients through three routes: directly, through its WET Centres, and through Virtual WET Centres. CAWST's direct client services include training workshops, consulting, education materials, and online resources. Through its WET (Water Expertise and Training) Centres program, the charity partners with other organizations and teaches them the model CAWST follows when helping people create solutions for better water and sanitation access. CAWST launched its Virtual WET Centre in 2013 to provide this same service online, increasing reach. The charity also runs a Youth Wavemakers program, where it works with youth to increase awareness and help them access the tools they need to help with water and sanitation issues on the local and global levels.

In 2016, CAWST's techniques were implemented in 199 projects bringing safer water to 2.3 million people. The average community size is 11,600 people. CAWST's average cost is $1.99 per person in the community. 

Since 2001, CAWST has been involved with 1,091 water and sanitation projects in 82 countries. CAWST also reports that 15.4 million people now have better water or sanitation because of projects implemented by CAWST clients since 2001.

CAWST's 2017 annual report was not available at the time of this profile update.

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CAWST is a large charity with donations of $7.4m in F2016. Administrative costs are 10% of revenues and fundraising costs are 14% of donations. Per dollar donated to the charity, $0.76 goes towards its programs, which falls within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. CAWST’s funding reserves of $15.0m can cover annual program costs for 4.3 years. This level exceeds 3 years which Charity Intelligence considers optimal for donors looking for their support to generate short-term results. 

Ci did not include donations from related parties (CAWST’s Board Chair, other directors, and CEO) in donations when calculating the fundraising cost ratio ($5.5m in F2016, $3.2m in F2015 and $3.2m in F2014, representing 75% of total donations over the three 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. The 2017 annual filing was not yet posted when this report was updated. Ideally, CAWST's auditors, KPMG, would report this information in the audited financial statements. 

This charity report is an update that is currently being reviewed by CAWST. Comments and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on July 27, 2017 by Katie Khodawandi and on August 12, 2018 by Kate Bahen.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 9.7%14.4%9.3%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 14.0%32.8%29.7%
Program cost coverage (%) 429.0%309.7%298.6%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 7,4024,1674,231
Government funding 21,0411,740
Fees for service 822429
Investment income 144167136
Total revenues 7,6295,3986,136
Program costs 3,4993,8303,852
Administrative costs 727753558
Fundraising costs 267313298
Cash flow from operations 3,1365021,428
Funding reserves 15,01011,86311,501

Note: Ci adjusted for deferred capital contributions and deferred contributions, affecting revenues by $2.9m in F2016, $345k in F2015 and $1.1m in F2014. Ci gathered program, administrative and fundraising costs from the charity’s T3010 CRA filings and backed out depreciation on a pro-rata basis. Ci reported loss on sale of marketable securities of $46k in F2016 in non-cash expenses.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 22

Avg. Compensation $82,459

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 F2016

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Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

CAWST maintains strong financial reserves, enabling stability for the organization and allowing us to make a strategic impact and plan for future years. It is a responsible practice which preserves our ability to serve our clients, even when our revenue fluctuates unexpectedly (for example when there is an economic downturn). Unlike other educational institutions, CAWST doesn’t receive institutional funding from the government; as such, a larger financial reserve is necessary. At 2017 year end, our financial reserve included $13 million in revenue deferred to 2018-2024; enough to cover our current operating budget for roughly 2 years.

Our financial reserve (labelled surplus by Charity Intelligence) comes primarily from major donors who recognize the importance of creating this stability and are donating for this purpose. Donations from the public are currently used for CAWST’s service provision in the year of the donation.

A financial reserve does not diminish our need for funding – the unmet need for our services and for safe drinking water and sanitation is immense. CAWST’s fundraising target for 2018 is $2.5 million.

Charity Contact

Website: www.cawst.org
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