The Pure Water Project was started by Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche approximately 15 years ago as a small humanitarian pilot project within The Ripa Ladrang Foundation, a philanthropic Buddhist organization. As a Tibetan refugee born in India, Jigme Rinpoche experienced first hand the difficult plight of Tibetan refugees in accessing clean water in their new home country. Too many young children were getting sick from drinking dirty contaminated water. Too much time and effort was spent on collecting water.

It was very apparent to him that the productivity, health, and happiness of a village depend on the availability and accessibility of sustainable clean drinking water.

As a result, Jigme Rinpoche began to coordinate small water projects in a few Tibetan refugee camps and Indian rural villages to improve access to clean drinking water. Villagers worked together to build reservoirs, storage tanks, and dig underground pipes.

Witnessing how quickly and dramatically these projects improved the health and happiness of the village community, Jigme Rinpoche became even more inspired to one day expand the Pure Water Project.

In 2011, the Pure Water Project was officially re-launched as a more formal and coordinated effort, spearheaded by a team based in New York.