In 2008 a group of scientists and development practitioners founded Water Witness International to carry out research, take action and advocate for better water resource management. Having worked on water issues all over the world for many years, we saw a clear opportunity to craft new solutions to tackle the world’s spiralling water resource challenges. Business-as-usual approaches by governments, donors, the private sector and NGOs weren’t working, and in some cases they were part of the problem. We envisaged a new type of NGO. One led by water resource managers with hands on experience of water politics and practice, providing on the ground, people centred action, cutting-edge research and targeted advocacy.
Our Roles & Values
Our strategy is guided by these values:
Transformative and sustainable engagement by ensuring local ownership and self-determination.
Social justice for vulnerable people through equitable processes and outcomes.
Transparency within our own work and international aid, and value for money for beneficiaries and donors.
Delivery based on rigorous evidence, verifiable claims, and highly ethical conduct.
Constructive engagement with partners and stakeholders based on respect, trust and pragmatism.
Our work and influence
Combining detailed on-the-ground research with tenacious advocacy, we have a strong track record in challenging established thinking, and creating and testing new approaches to tackle the root causes of water injustice.
Impact on the private sector
We exposed the shocking story of how food production for European consumers drives the drying up of aquifers and thrusts local people into conflict. The work made front page news, and drove supermarkets, governments and global financiers like the IFC to take action.
Impact for communities
Our pioneering accountability monitoring on water with communities in Africa has resulted in pollution control enforcement, new investment and has pushed water up the political agenda. We lead efforts to expand accountability monitoring to bring water justice to the poor and accelerate delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Impact on governments
Water problems result from under-investment, careless or corrupt use of public money. We track how money is spent, ensuring transparency so that investment gets to the frontline. Our hard-hitting analysis has revealed the extent of the financing crisis in the Tanzania water sector and has led to new funding commitments.
Impact on global systems
We co-founded the world’s first Water Stewardship Standard, which guides, recognises and rewards climate-smart and sustainable water management practices. We lead the development and rollout of the Standard across Africa.