Water and sanitation is in our DNA
The idea behind Water For People began in the early 1980s, with three people who wanted to use their expertise to build a better world.
Ken Miller, Wayne Weiss, and John B. Mannion had spent their entire careers working in water and wastewater, and they each believed it was possible for everyone in the world to have access to safe water and sanitation services. This was no pipe dream—this was real conviction supported by decades of experience. In 1991, these three men came together with others in their industries to create Water For People, an international nonprofit based in Denver, Colorado. Using their networks, knowledge, and experience, they began to build a program that would bring lasting solutions to the world’s water crisis.
Our impact model is called Everyone Forever, and it means water and sanitation that lasts – for every family, clinic, and school. It sounds simple, but it’s actually a big shift in the status quo. In most water and sanitation work, the focus is on short-term wins – building a few wells or toilets without considering how they will keep serving people long into the future.
While drilling wells and installing pumps might take only days or weeks, building piped infrastructure and making sure it lasts Forever can take years. Everyone Forever means we focus on things like protecting water supplies, training mechanics, and establishing supply chains for parts. It means we think about long-term projects like advocating for national water policies and creating local water and sanitation utilities. And we don’t call our work finished until we’re confident water will flow long after we leave a district.