Solving the Global Water Crisis

There are 2.2 billion people across the globe living without access to reliable and safe water, leaving underserved communities at increased risk. In fact, to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 (water and sanitation for all), countries will need to invest an estimated $1.7 trillion or more by 2030 to ensure that there is universal access.

To help solve the global water crisis, the Caterpillar Foundation is committed to investing in localized innovative solutions across communities in need globally to ensure they gain access to safe and clean water, which in turn, will allow them to grow stronger.

In honor of World Water Day, we are raising awareness of the challenges that exist around the globe, and are proud to highlight our collaborative partners, charity:water, Semeando Agua by the Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas, The Nature Conservancy and the Conservation Trust for North Carolina. These partners are all on the ground, establishing local programs that directly impact these communities.


Since 2010, the Caterpillar Foundation has partnered with charity: water, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Through our recent grant, charity: water is working in Odisha, India, through a local partnership with Gram Vikas, an organization committed to improving the quality of life in rural communities across the state. This program aims to bring water and sanitation directly into each household, by constructing piped water systems with in-home connections and mobilizing communities to build their own toilets and bathing rooms in homes. Our investment will help provide resources to build piped water systems and bring clean water to the under-served communities that need it most.

Learn more about our partnership here.


The Caterpillar Foundation is dedicated to addressing water supply and infrastructure challenges in the communities where we live and work. This challenge is increasingly visible in Brazil where the Cantareira System, which was once able to provide water to half of Sao Paulo’s population, now only services one quarter. As part of our commitment, we invested in Semeando Agua (or “Sowing Water”), an initiative run by the Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (IPÊ), to implement sustainable production practice techniques using native species, restore native forests in priority areas, and apply low-cost forest restoration models in the Cantareira System. Our support also helps the IPÊ educational programs in public schools which train the next generation of students in resilient watershed management techniques.

Learn more about our partnership here.


The Tana River in Kenya serves as a driving force in the country’s economy, supplying water for millions, and helping promote the livelihood of the residents who live along it. To protect and ensure the sustainability of this watershed, the Caterpillar Foundation supported The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Upper Tana Nairobi Water Fund. The Fund enables public and private downstream water users to jointly invest in upstream land conservation with the aim of reducing erosion, improving water quality and regulating water supply. Water funds are built on the principle that it is cheaper to prevent water problems beginning at the source, than it is to address them further downstream, all while working with local communities to restore and protect these ecosystems. This program has provided direct support for female farmers, along with farmers over the age of 60, and serves as a model for leaders around the world who are looking for ways to solve similar water challenges.

Learn more about our partnership here.


In North Carolina’s Triangle region, rapid development is threatening forests, wetlands and grasslands that naturally protect drinking water supplies for 600,000 people in the area. Natural infrastructure, like forests and wetlands, can address these challenges by providing basic services from water flow regulation and flood control to water purification and water temperature regulation. However, the rising cost to acquire land in and around the region has made protecting these places increasingly more costly for nonprofits and public agencies.  The Caterpillar Foundation’s recent investment is helping to advance an exciting new model for watershed protection by supplementing public and private funds to make possible the acquisition of land in the Upper Neuse watershed. It will protect river and stream frontage that are highly vulnerable to development.

Learn more about our partnership here.

As we reflect on our progress this World Water Day, we know that there is still a long path ahead to achieve SDG 6. The Foundation firmly believes that investing in sustainable infrastructure, restoring local ecosystems, and innovative partnerships will protect future water supplies and improve the quality of life for all. Together, we are building stronger, resilient, and more sustainable communities.