The Global Water Crisis

Water is not only vital for life. It is also a critical, foundational building block for health and long-term economic prosperity. Without access to safe water, families, women & girls, and communities are locked into a continuous cycle of poverty. We believe that access to clean, safe water is a basic human right.

The United Nations estimates that roughly 4 billion people – or two thirds of the world’s population – experience severe water shortages for at least one month a year. Roughly 1.6 billion people – or almost 25% of the world’s population – do not have secure access to a clean, safe water supply.

The economic benefits of investing in water and sanitation are considerable. The WHO estimates that for every dollar invested in water and sanitation services, an economic return of US $4.3 is generated due to reduced health care costs and greater participation rate and productivity in the workplace. 

The agriculture sector, which is the primary economic driver in most emerging countries, also places significant demand on water and by extension, power. Responsible water resource management is key to safeguarding irreplaceable ecosystems. 

Our mission is to deliver water (and power) infrastructure to the greatest number of people in need, at the lowest cost per person, by developing sustainable, scalable, long-duration water and power infrastructure.

Providing access to clean water reduces mortality and morbidity rates significantly while alleviating malnutrition, gender inequality, and disparities in economic opportunity.

We support the United Nations’ Sustainability Goal 5 and Goal 6. Goal 5 is focused on achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls. Goal 6 is focused on ensuring the availability (and sustainability) of water and sanitation.

Water Crisis Fast Facts

(SOURCE: WORLD VISION)

844 Million people

Lack basic drinking water access, more than 1 of every 10 people on the planet

2.3 Billion people

Live without access to basic sanitation

200 Million hours

Time spent by women and girls hauling water every day

6 Kms/day

The distance an average woman in rural Africa walks to haul 40 pounds of water

800 Children

Under the age of 5 die everyday from diarrhea attributed to poor water and sanitation

1 in 4 people

Will likely live in a country affected by chronic or recurring fresh-water shortages by the year 2050

2030

One of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals aims to provide universal access to clean water and sanitation by 2030

892 Million people

Have no access to basic sanitation systems, such as flush toilets or latrines

The Crux of the Crisis:
Scale, Funding, & Sustainability

Most water initiatives remain focused on providing relief to one village at a time, rather than building large-scale, long-duration infrastructure and power assets that reach the most people in the most cost-effective and sustainable manner.

The primary constraint in the fight to alleviate the water crisis is funding. For most developing countries, sources of external financing are limited and inadequate to fund larger scale water and sanitation projects. In addition, local authorities tend to have human capital capacity constraints required to develop, underwrite, finance and operate large-scale infrastructure projects.

This is compounded by the fact that revenues generated by water and sanitation projects are generally unable to meet the development, operational and maintenance costs of a project, making it difficult to provide water at a tariff that the end-user can afford.

Governments are often passive observers of water projects in their regions. Water system operations and maintenance is often overlooked following the installation, negatively impacting long-term sustainability. As a result, a large percentage of water systems become non-functional and inoperative within 24 months of installation.

Our Mission

Terra Firma is focused on developing sustainable, scalable, long-duration water (and power) infrastructure assets in developing communities, serving the greatest number of people at the lowest cost per person through strategic, operational, financial, and local partnerships.

Project Terra Firma of Canada/Projet Terra Firma du Canada (tf.) is a registered Canadian charitable organization founded by Marco Di Girolamo and co-founded by Ryan Philips-Page.

There is a global, urgent need for water and power infrastructure for the disadvantaged poor. Water (and power) are cornerstones a of healthy society. Clean water mitigates mortality and morbidity rates, while alleviating malnutrition, gender inequality, and disparities in economic opportunity.

Our mission is to deliver clean water (and renewable power) to the greatest number of people in need, at the lowest cost per person, by developing sustainable, scalable, long-duration infrastructure assets.

Our big, audacious goal is to end the global water (and energy) crisis in developing communities by leveraging our operational and financial expertise.

We support the United Nations’ Sustainability Goal 5 and Goal 6. Goal 5 is focused on achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls. Goal 6 is focused on ensuring the availability (and sustainability) of water and sanitation.

 

Approach

We collaborate with local and global partners to raise equity financing for Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) to deliver water (and renewable power) infrastructure to the disadvantaged poor. We also work closely with development finance institutions and export credit agencies to secure long-term debt at attractive rates to deliver sustainable, long-duration, critical infrastructure.

Under the PPP structure, water infrastructure assets are operated under a 30-year government concession, which provides revenue certainty. This revenue model allows us to maintain operational standards and ensure that water facilities continue to generate clean water for years, while creating local employment.

Those served pay a price that they can afford. Revenues repay the asset level project debt and recover the initial equity investment. More importantly, local communities have a vested interest in the long-term viability of these water infrastructure projects, as the human and economic impact on their communities become self-evident. Moreover, management of water treatment facilities will create jobs and build skills within the same local communities served.

Our approach is based on the commercial standards set by global private equity firms. We engage local government(s), we negotiate long-term concessions (and contracts), we use long-term, low-risk financing, and we believe in scale to reach our objectives.

  • Engage Local Government: Relationships & Expertise
    We engage with local governments and utilities to develop scalable water (and power) infrastructure projects on a Public-Private-Partnership basis. We leverage our business development skills and experience to work directly with government officials, utilities, law firms, financial institutions, and contractors to execute these projects.

  • Plan for Sustainability: Concession Agreements
    We employ a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) structure to ensure that the project will be maintained over the life of the concession. Bigger projects achieve economies of scale and ensure that water resourced and managed sustainably.

  • Attract “Best-Fit” Capital: Innovative Funding
    We work with strategic partners to raise capital and apply this capital as equity in Public-Private-Partnerships. We use a “Capital Light” funding structure, which allows us to raise debt at attractive rates from governmental agencies. Water consumers pay an affordable price for the clean water, which is used to repay the project debt over the life of the 30-year concession.

  • Leverage Scale: Build Long-Duration Assets
    We deploy large-scale, long-duration water (and power) infrastructure assets that can serve communities for decades. These long-duration water (and power) infrastructure assets can be expanded to meet future requirements, as funding permits.

We aim to have the greatest impact on the largest number of the world’s most impoverished, through the sustainable and scalable provision of clean water (and power). Access to clean water creates a ripple effect and alleviates malnutrition, gender inequality, and creates economic opportunity.

You can elect to donate in several ways, as a corporate sponsor, a volunteer, an event participant, or through an online donation.

We support the United Nations’ Sustainability Goal 5 and Goal 6. Goal 5 is focused on achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls. Goal 6 is focused on ensuring the availability (and sustainability) of water and sanitation.

Major Donor

We understand that the charities you choose to support say something about you and your personal values. Our charitable donations will speak for us long after we are gone. Giving becomes a personal legacy for our family, our grandchildren, and for the beneficiaries in the local communities we serve.

Major Donors can elect to dedicate and name water infrastructure assets to commemorate their legacy and acknowledge their contribution to alleviating the global water crisis. This recognizes the generosity of Major Donors and marks the gift in perpetuity for our shared cause.

You may specify the way in which you wish to have your name or your company’s name and the purpose of your gift inscribed on the asset and/or plaque. The infrastructure asset will be tagged (Google Geocode) so that you can share this gift with family forever.

Your contribution can be made in the form of cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, life insurance or other property. In addition, major donors may also have his or her family name digitally inscribed on our website, which will be permanently displayed.

We are hopeful that your donation and this special recognition will inspire others to give and to help us end the global water crisis.

Our Humanitarian Award

We intend to transform countries by developing large-scale water (and power) infrastructure projects. Donors that support a “complete country transformation” will be celebrated with our Humanitarian Award.

We are in the early stages of implementing our vision. We intend to launch a Humanitarian Award Gala that will be hosted by academics, authors, celebrities, and local community leaders. Every three years, a Major Donor will be awarded the Global Humanitarian Award and invited to participate in all future award ceremonies, as we transform more countries with our good work. Our Humanitarian Award is to help us all recognize and celebrate the “capital change agents” in the world.

Join Us

We are always looking for creative, talented individuals to join our team