Since 2012, HSBC has donated USD100 million to its Water Programme to provide and protect water sources and inform and educate communities in need.

The bank works with Earthwatch, WaterAid and WWF, as well as more than 50 other non-governmental organisations. By improving water quality these organisations are helping to save lives. Providing basic facilities that are taken for granted in some countries can make a huge difference: according to WaterAid, 900 children under five die every day from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. Globally, 650 million people do not have access to safe water.

HSBC’s partnership with WaterAid has helped almost 1.3 million people to get access to fresh water and 1.9 million people to access sanitation facilities in Bangladesh, India, Ghana, Nepal, Nigeria and Pakistan. The tie-up, for example, supported WaterAid’s efforts to restore access to clean water and sanitation for communities in Nepal that were devastated by the earthquake that struck in April 2015.

Water will be one of the most important resources for the world to protect over the next 20 to 30 years

Together with WWF, HSBC has helped to protect 1,824 km of river and 490,000 hectares of wetland. In Kenya and Tanzania, the bank’s support is enabling WWF to work with local community groups to improve the management of water resources across the Mara basin. And in China, the collaboration is helping to tackle pollution and protect lakes and wetlands in the Yangtze basin.

HSBC has been working with Earthwatch to train bank employees as citizen scientists: more than 6,700 had completed the training by the end of 2015. These volunteers collect valuable data on fresh water resources in their community. The information gathered is being used by scientists conducting research into the quality of water in lakes and rivers around the world.

The work on the current Water Programme carries on until the end of the year. HSBC continues to support projects that are helping to build healthier communities, improve the environment and develop economies.

Commenting on the progress to date, HSBC Group Chairman Douglas Flint said: “Water will be one of the most important resources for the world to protect over the next 20 to 30 years. I am heartened by the evidence that the HSBC Water Programme is making a real difference to the lives and livelihoods of people around the world.”

Restoring Ramganga

Dr Seema Mahendra (pictured left) is one of a group of community volunteers working with WWF to tackle pollution in the Ramganga, one of the main tributaries of India’s River Ganges.

Her memories of playing along the banks of the Ramganga as a child led Dr Mahendra to join other members of her community working to restore the habitat in and around the river.

“No Sunday went by without our father taking us to the banks of the Ramganga,” she explains. “Making mud castles, running across the banks and dipping our feet in the river was a regular ritual. But now it has changed beyond belief: the murky waters, the stench and the atmosphere are depressing.”

Working with WWF, Dr Mahendra and other friends of the river are bringing issues to the fore. She says that by giving the local community “a voice” improvements are being made.

The Ramganga project is one of the many initiatives in India and beyond that HSBC is supporting as part of its Water Programme.

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