Xylem And Planet Water Foundation Provide More Than One Million People with Clean Water and Hygiene Education

Feb 22, 2021 9:00 AM ET

Xylem, a leading global water technology company, began partnering with Planet Water Foundation ten years ago. With a shared mission of creating stability and equity for communities that lack access to clean water, it was clear from the beginning that Planet Water would be an ideal partner. Over the last decade, the partnership has provided more than one million people with access to safe, reliable drinking water and hygiene education. The one million milestone was achieved in November 2020 and was met with great excitement!

Planet Water’s work centers around communities across the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions, with a particular focus on schools, children, rural areas, and disaster response. Clean water access comes through Planet Water’s AquaTower solution. These sustainable devices filter contaminants from local water sources and can supply up to 1,800 people with their daily drinking water requirements. The AquaTower can be constructed in one day by Planet Water’s team together with volunteers. Planet Water also provides maintenance training to members of the community to ensure the system continues to provide clean water for years to come.

Water health and hygiene education is also pivotal for the communities Planet Water serves. By implementing a school-based program that teaches the importance of handwashing and how to protect against germs, the lessons enable behavior change in students and their caregivers that will percolate for generations to come. By providing teachers with content and programming that can be shared in local languages, learning life-saving hygiene practices becomes fun with the incorporation of games, drama, songs, and storytelling.

Through the partnership, Xylem has been able to sponsor the deployment of over 500 clean water projects in 14 countries. Over 1,600 Xylem employees have also served as Planet Water project volunteers, accompanying service trips to deploy AquaTower systems and engage residents in the education program. Most recently, Xylem has supported natural disaster responses in the Philippines after super typhoon Goni, in Vietnam after typhoon Molave, and in Honduras following hurricanes Eta and Iota. The company has also recently sponsored AquaTower systems and hygiene education programs at schools in India and Mexico, where students often miss class due to water-related illnesses.

While knowing we are making an impact is rewarding, Xylem teams especially appreciate working with the dedicated Planet Water team. When asked about working with Xylem, Penghorn Chheang, a Program Manager in the Mekong region, shared, “I have so many unforgettable memories from working with Xylem team members from many countries. We may have different cultures and beliefs, but we have the same commitment to solving water! Together, we have been able to achieve things we could not achieve by ourselves.”

Dario A. Operario, a Program Manager in the Philippines, also fondly recalled a 2019 project in Samar with Xylem volunteers. “To get to the project site, we needed to walk for almost one hour and then ride a small boat for another two hours. Upon reaching the school, we were exhausted. However, once we saw the students, we were full of energy and had a great time deploying the project together.”

It has been an honor for so many of our employees to have these hands-on experiences! We look forward to one day being able to volunteer again, but in the meantime, we are thankful for our continued partnership with Planet Water and are eager to meet our next milestone.

To learn more about Xylem’s partnership with Planet Water, check out this interview with Austin Alexander, Xylem’s Vice President of Sustainability and Social Impact.