Abundant Water (AW) was started in 2008 by Sunny Forsyth, an Australian engineer and the current AW CEO.
The beginnings of Abundant Water came while Sunny was working as an Australian Government Youth Ambassador and witnessed firsthand the lack of safe drinking water in rural communities.
Sunny sought advice from Dr Tony Flynn at the Australian National University, who had demonstrated that innovative low-cost clay-pottery filters removed over 95% of the pathogens in water. From his time as a Youth Ambassador and work in development, Sunny also knew that a succesful clay-pottery filter manufacturing project would have to take a grassroots approach. Village potters would need to be trained in the technology and make them in the local style, using natural materials found everywhere, and educate users in proper hygiene practices.
Sunny then established abundantwater.org, a website where he canvassed support for the project, which he readily received from friends and family and began discussions with local potters in the Laos capital, Vientiane. After obtaining AUD$2000 in November 2008 from Canberra Rotary for seed funding, Sunny returned to Laos and began the process of making clay-pottery filters with local potters.
Sunny soon became aware of the interest in the project, both in Laos and abroad. A Board was created in February 2009 and Abundant Water was incorporated. Volunteers from around the world began to offer their skills to the Abundant Water project. Following advice from experts in the fields of project management, Sunny formed a number of teams to promote coordination and collaboration and today these hubs are responsible for all AW activities, even the building of this very website!
Following a cholera outbreak in Laos in early 2009, Sunny approached the Lao Government with the initiative of using the filters. They enthusiastically supported the project and made its Health Department laboratories available for filter testing. By mid-2009, three different iterations of the ceramic filters had been tested and a viable filter had been produced.
Soon after, Sunny opened the filter manufacturing facility in Vientiane that we are still using to produce filters and train local potters.
As of 2015, the AW filter is being used throughout Laos PDR in both village households and schools. We have also been empowering villagers by helping them setup micro-businesses selling our filters.