Sustainable Systems in Water

Sustainable Systems

The CARE Water+ Team believes in helping to establish sustainable WASH systems. CARE assists with integrating WASH into existing systems within the country. To do so, we work closely with local and national governments, local organizations, communities and the private sector. CARE has a long history of local partnerships to ensure that the work we do is in line with government plans and community priorities. However, more and more we recognize that intentions for sustainability are not enough and that sustainability is best achieved through concrete, actionable steps, taken with local partners. Examples of these include: supporting government agencies to develop partnerships with the private sector, co-collecting data and improving data quality that informs government decisions, co-founding learning institutions for WASH technicians, advocating for more municipalities to have water and sanitation offices and ownership, integrating policies that influence WASH decision-making by governments.

The WASH sector (see Sanitation and Water for All Collaborative Behaviors and The Agenda for Change) asserts that sustainable WASH follows four major principles. The majority of CARE’s water+ work, which occurs in collaboration with various partners across 50 countries, addresses 2-4 of the below principles:

  • Enhance government leadership of sector planning processes
  • Strengthen and use country systems
  • Use one information and mutual accountability platform
  • Build sustainable water and sanitation sector financing strategies

By integrating these four criteria into our programs, the Water+ Team recognizes the role of the government and the private sector in maintaining sustainable WASH systems. Whether through pump menders, water treatment products, finance institutions or sanitation suppliers, the private sector should be included in maintaining WASH infrastructure, often with government regulation or oversight.

In addition to applying these four criteria to our programs, we also strongly believe that sustainability of WASH programs will come from considerations and transformative programming in terms of gender and equity. CARE “grades” a number of its water+ programs each year on the four principles listed above, at both local and national levels. Additionally, and importantly, programs are graded on whether their program integrates gender and equity inclusion into their approach.


Back to Water+

Water+ and Gender Transformation

Water+ and gender is more than just the benefits of WASH infrastructure for women and girls. It is about transforming roles in their homes and in the community for the better.

Policy & Advocacy

The CARE Water+ team sees local and national government as partners – in prioritization, research and policy-making. 

Water Smart Agriculture (WaSA)

Water Smart Agriculture (WaSA) is a set of approaches where we work with smallholder farmers (focusing on women) to increase yields while using water wisely.


Water, sanitation and hygiene is central to what our programs do. We invite you to learn more about our WASH approach.