EASING TROUBLED WATERS
Sarah Evans is going Well Beyond to lead the way in the worldwide clean-water movement. BY SHELLEY SEALE
many well-meaning organizations build wells without considering what will happen if or when they break or training local communities how to operate and maintain them properly. “Originally, I set out to improve lives, but I realized I needed to improve the industry.” As part of her journey to do just that, Evans is making some big changes. She’s stepping down as CEO of Well Aware to become CEO of her new for-profit social-good company, Well Beyond, which signed its first client in These are unthinkable scenarios yet a fact August 2017. She will remain on the board of of everyday life in much of the developing for Well Aware. world. Millions of families in Africa have “Originally, I set out to improve directors “Since only about 40 percent of water no reliable source of clean water—but that’s systems installed in Africa are functional, our lives, but I realized I needed something Sarah Evans is out to change. sector struggles to find better ways to do this Since founding the nonprofit Well to improve the industry.” work—and Well Aware was doing it better,” Aware in 2009, Evans, along with her team, Evans says. has funded and implemented life-saving In fact, Well Aware has a 100 percent success rate, an impressive water systems in 54 communities in East Africa. But it’s not nearly as statistic that led to many organizations approaching Well Aware for simple as just digging wells or installing water systems. Sixty percent advice and guidance. of water projects in Africa don’t work, including many installed by “The main reason for water-system failure is missing technical nonprofit organizations. expertise,” Evans says. “The majority of water [nongovernmental “Everywhere you look, there are broken wells,” Evans says, noting too
Photo by Lindsey Reed.
Most of us take for granted the water we drink, bathe in, cook with, spray our plants with…and waste. But what would our world look like if six out of 10 faucets suddenly stopped working? What if women had to spend six hours a day traveling to collect clean water, or if a child died from a waterborne disease every 90 seconds?
26 | AUSTIN WOMAN | NOVEMBER 2018
Austin Woman November 2018