457 Heather Crescent
Thunder Bay, ON P7E 5L1
President: Lynda Gehrels
Board Chair: Cheryl Hertan

Charitable Reg. #:88542 0737 RR0001


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

[Charity Rating: 5/5]



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) 95 cents are available for programs.

My anchor


About Lifewater Canada:

Lifewater Canada is a top rated 5-star charity and a top 10 impact charity. It has a high results reporting score and is financially transparent. The charity does not have large funding reserves and can cover less than 4 months of program costs. 

Founded in 1997, Lifewater Canada is a volunteer-based Christian charity that works to improve hygiene and provide safe drinking water to people in Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Haiti. It sends trained teams into communities without access to clean or safe water to build wells, water pumps, community toilets, and rainwater storage systems. It also teaches locals how to use and maintain this equipment.

A Charity Intelligence 2023 Top 100 Rated Charity

Lifewater Canada reports that around 785 million people lack access to safe water and that 2.4 billion people lack access to toilets and hand-washing stations. Women and young girls are particularly affected by this crisis. Collectively, they spend 200 million hours per year gathering water. This leads to many young girls dropping out of school. Diseases like cholera, dysentery, and typhoid are transmitted through dirty water and kill 1.6 million people annually. This is equivalent to one person dying every 20 seconds. Most of these deaths are children under the age of five.

In F2022, Lifewater Canada helped 970,602 people through 2,093 clean water and sanitation projects. Including donated goods, it spent $3.1m on its programs. Ci estimates that the total program cost for each project is $1,485. 

Lifewater Canada spent $2.3m on projects providing safe water in F2022. This represents 73% of its program costs. In F2022, it built 355 new wells and fixed 314 wells. Lifewater Canada repaired 1,138 hand pumps, up from 588 in F2021. It also installed 268 rainwater collection tanks, an increase from 79 in F2021.

Lifewater Canada spent $523k on infrastructure improvements. This represents 17% of its program costs. This includes storage facilities and other equipment needed to carry out its projects. 

In F2022, it spent $202k on sanitation, health, and hygiene projects representing 6% of program costs. During the year, it held 658 health and hygiene workshops that reached 262,354 people. It also built 284 handwashing stations and 19 toilets.

It also spent $130k on disaster relief in Ukraine representing 4% of program costs.

Listen to CBC's November 2022 interview with Lifewater Canada's Lynda Gehrels on well drilling in Kenya, cost per well, pump repair updates in Liberia and 85 new water proposals per month in Nigeria. 

My anchor

Results and Impact

In F2022, Lifewater Canada reports that adults and children saved 143,242 hours each day because they no longer needed to walk long distances to get water. Its projects helped children spend 556,163 more hours in school each month instead of getting water. Girls spent 69,520 more days in school each month instead of fetching water.

Lifewater reports that there was $5.3m in monthly economic impact from families that no longer needed to buy water in F2022. It estimates that for each dollar invested by donors, there was a $11 economic return.

While Ci highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of Lifewater Canada’s results and impact.

Charity Intelligence has given Lifewater a High impact rating based on demonstrated impact per dollar spent.

A Charity Intelligence 2022 Top 10 Impact Charity


Impact Rating: High

My anchor


Lifewater Canada received $2.8m in Canadian donations and $64k in international donations in F2022. It also received $15k in donated goods-in-kind. It spent $3.1m on international programs, a 246% increase from $898k in F2021.

Administrative costs are 4% of revenues and fundraising costs are 1% of donations. Total overhead costs are 5%. For each dollar donated, 95 cents go to the cause. This is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

Lifewater Canada has $945k in cash funding reserves, a 29% decrease from funding reserves of $1.3m in F2021. Its funding reserves can cover program costs at F2022 levels for 4 months. This shows that Lifewater Canada has a need for funding.

Lifewater now discloses compensation information on its T3010 filing with the CRA. This information was not available from F2015 to F2021.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Lifewater Canada for review. Comments and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on May 12, 2023 by Emily Downing.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending June
Administrative costs as % of revenues 3.8%2.6%2.8%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 0.9%1.1%2.7%
Total overhead spending 4.6%3.8%5.5%
Program cost coverage (%) 30.4%148.2%30.9%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 2,788,8071,919,1011,133,384
International donations 64,41985,55672,350
Goods in kind 14,664113,64041,972
Other income 1,460(1,362)151
Total revenues 2,869,3502,116,9351,247,857
Program costs - International 3,108,094897,820997,829
Donated goods exp 14,664113,64041,972
Administrative costs 108,30455,79135,074
Fundraising costs 23,76721,91330,420
Total spending 3,254,8291,089,1641,105,295
Cash flow from operations (385,479)1,027,771142,562
Capital spending 000
Funding reserves 945,3841,330,863308,027

Note: Ci reported foreign exchange gain (loss) as other income. Ci removed donated goods-in-kind used in programs from international program costs and reported these amounts as donated goods used in programs.   

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 1

Avg. compensation: $44,989

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 F2022

My anchor

Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

Added on October 5th, 2023:

On behalf of our donors, we at Lifewater place a very high priority on cost-effectiveness and accountability. That’s why our overhead costs are consistently well below 10% each year, and why each completed project – even a relatively simple pump repair – has a dedicated page on our website where donors can see the tangible impact of their support through photos, a map, GPS coordinates, technical data, a brief profile of the benefiting community, and a thank-you letter from the community.

Charity Contact

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



Tel: +1 807-622-4848


Charity Intelligence researches Canadian charities for donors to be informed and give intelligently. Our website posts free reports on more than 800 Canadian charities, as well as in-depth primers on philanthropic sectors like Canada’s environment, cancer, and homelessness. Today over 500,000 Canadians use our website as a go-to source for information on Canadian charities reading over 1.6 million charity reports. Through rigorous and independent research, Charity Intelligence aims to assist Canada’s dynamic charitable sector in being more transparent, accountable and focused on results.


Be Informed. Give Intelligently. Have Impact


Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001