Access to clean drinking water – a basic human right

In the West, we tend to take drinking water for granted. But many people in Afghanistan and Pakistan don’t have that luxury. Shelter Now is digging new wells... 

Children in Aghanistan enjoying the clear drinking water from the new well.
A well in Afghan landscape with 2 children. Children in Aghanistan enjoying the clear drinking water from the new well.

Drinking water

Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right. In the West we tend to take this for granted, but for the people of Afghanistan it's by no means automatic. It's a very arid country, and wells often have to be extremely deep to reach ground water - 20 to 40 meters is not uncommon. Working with local village elders, Shelter Now digs wells in various locations, secures them and installs hand pumps. We do not use diesel pumps as these would place too much demand on the water supply, lowering the water table significantly and ultimately causing all the wells to dry up.

Digging and securing a well and installing a hand pump costs nearly US $900. One well provides drinking water for up to 40 families.

Fresh spring water for North East Afghanistan

A new Drinking Water Installation for the School.
A new Drinking Water Installation for the School.

There is enough water in the high mountains of the province Badakhshan, but as it flows unprotected through the villages it becomes polluted and can cause sicknesses. Together with the local villagers Shelter Now installs water pipes from the wellspring to the village, making it possible for the village to enjoy fresh, clean drinking water throughout the whole year. The schools are also connected to this water system and the teachers and students receive training in hygienics.

Splash out!

Get a well with your name on it!

For a standard well we pay approx. 1,200 US$

If you as a family, a church or a school etc. can finance a whole well, we will put a plaque on it with your name or a dedication - if you like, and you will also receive a certificate with a photo and the location of your well.

Donate a well!


The water provided by the "kareez" is also suitable for drinking. Kareez are man-made tunnels which collect ground water from the slopes of the mountains and channel it into the village below, often over several miles. There the water is used for drinking, washing clothes and for irrigating the fields and fruit plantations.

Many of these irrigation systems are several hundred years old and have dried out or were destroyed during the war. Shelter Now employs local specialists to repair and expand them. The job has to be well paid as it is not without its hazards, often involving work between 30 and 50 meters below ground.