The story so far

Without water, there is no life. The water that we drink, use to wash and grow crops is under threat – risking human lives, habitats and species. It’s a global problem and needs a global solution. This is why the HSBC Water Programme is investing in the environment, people and livelihoods to tackle the water challenge worldwide.

The global water challenge

HSBC Water Programme

A quarter of the world’s population live in ecosystems under threat from water scarcity. In addition, there are 844 million people living without basic access to clean water, and 2.3 billion people without access to basic sanitation.

The HSBC Water Programme is an eight-year, US$150 million global programme in partnership with Earthwatch, WaterAid , WWF and local project partners. It aims to provide and protect water sources, inform and educate communities in need, and enable people to prosper, driving economic development across the world. Launched in 2012 and originally a five-year, US$100 million programme, it was extended in 2017 following its success. The extended programme will continue to deliver global impact, with a renewed focus on the Sustainable Development Goals at its core.

Find out more about what the HSBC Water Programme has achieved since 2012.

Earthwatch Logo

Earthwatch empowers people to save our planet.  We create knowledge and inspire action through hands-on science and environmental engagement to address key environmental challenges, working together with individuals, communities and organizations. As a partner in the HSBC Water Programme, Earthwatch is delivering freshwater research and engagement to help inform and transform water management.

Since the HSBC Water Programme was established, Earthwatch has partnered with international research institutes, NGOs and policymakers to conduct new research to tackle the global freshwater challenge. To achieve the scale required to find solutions, over 8,000 HSBC employees around the world were trained as citizen scientists to monitor the health of their local freshwater bodies. Over 17,000 data points were collected, contributing to environmental and social improvements in freshwater systems across the world.

Find out more about the impacts Earthwatch has made since 2012.

Wateraid Logo

WaterAid is an international NGO determined to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone everywhere by 2030. Working together with the HSBC Water Programme, WaterAid is improving access to these services in India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ghana and Nepal.

Since the HSBC Water Programme began in 2012, significant progress has been made towards increasing access to water and sanitation in project areas. Working together with local partners, WaterAid have reached 1.65 million people with clean water and 2.5 million people with sanitation services, as well as delivering hygiene education programmes. 400 HSBC employees have supported WaterAid through volunteering or by taking part in personal fundraising challenges.

Find out more about WaterAid’s work with the HSBC Water Programme since 2012. 


WWF’s vision is a future where people and nature thrive. Fresh water, essential to all life on earth – plant, animal and human – is crucial to realising our vision. Through the HSBC Water Programme, we strive for a world where the water needs of both human communities and the environment are met, and we know that the best way to achieve this is through integrated, collaborative and sustainable management of freshwater resources. We work in river basins worldwide, empowering local communities to create this change at a global scale.

Since the beginning of its 15-year partnership with HSBC and as part of the HSBC Water Programme, we have played a crucial role on the ground in the Ganga, Mara, Mekong, Pantanal and Yangtze river basins. Our in-country teams work with the communities whose livelihoods are built around the rivers, and have already seen results in improved water quality, habitats and enhanced local economies. We have set a strong framework from which to build on over the coming three years, contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Find out more about the impact WWF has made since 2012.

Local Projects

In addition to the funding given to Earthwatch, WaterAid and WWF, the HSBC Water Programme has allocated US$35 million to charities managing local water projects. Funding has been committed to 62 projects so far, in 35 countries, which were nominated by HSBC employees. The projects provide local, practical, and sustainable solutions – and vitally, education for local communities, empowering them to protect the rivers they depend on and their livelihoods in return.