Living Standards

Access to clean water

We help tea growing communities improve their quality of life through better access to clean and safe water. access to clean water is critical not just because it boosts people’s health but also because it reduces the amount of time spent collecting water, enabling children to attend school and women to participate in economic activities. Through our partnerships, we build facilities and help people maintain them while increasing awareness on the importance of clean water.

In Darjeeling, India, we have been partnering with Mercy Corps and WaterAid to ensure communities have a well-maintained piped water supply system that provides clean, easily accessible water. Despite Darjeeling’s high rainfall and springs, fresh water is in short supply because the springs are not protected and are vulnerable to contamination.

Diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases are common, often forcing people to miss school or work. The hilly topography of this Himalayan region means that adequate piped infrastructure is hard to come by.

For more information on our work with WaterAid

"Access to water and sanitation is one of the most pressing challenges for tea workers and their families in Darjeeling, and we’re delighted to address this through our partnership with Twinings."
Tim Wainwright,
WaterAid Chief Executive

To ensure the sustainability of the newly built systems, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) committees have been established within communities, with people being trained in all aspects of operation and maintenance, from repairing leaks to testing water quality.

"Access to water and sanitation in the household and workplace is a basic human right. Yet, in many tea estates in India, this is still work in progress. Today, people remain vulnerable to diseases, leading to an extra financial burden from healthcare, and have to spend large amounts of time collecting water."
Bipul Borah,
Ethical Sourcing Manager

In Kenya, we’re supporting a water filtration programme that will provide tea communities with safe drinking water and help to reduce the incidence of waterborne disease.

These water filters also eliminate the need to burn wood or charcoal to boil water for purification, helping to improve the health of people in our sourcing communities while cutting carbon emissions and protecting local forests.

What we have achieved

  • Provided more than 11,000 people with access to clean water
  • Reduced waterborne diseases by 79% in participating tea communities in Darjeeling, saving INR 3,782 (approximately US$50) per household on medical expenses and reducing absenteeism at work by 63%.
  • 44 new water supply systems built.

Anju's story

Anju is a tea plucker who lives and works on a garden in Darjeeling with her husband and son.

Anju, like many on the tea garden, used to have to wake up at 3.00-3.30am every day and wait in line to fetch water, which could take up to an hour each morning.

"Earlier we had to use limited amounts of water and we had to carry water from a long distance for everything right from cooking, cleaning and for sanitation purposes. Now there is continuous supply of water and the water point is so near to my house that my family is able to wash, clean and take regular baths"