The Global WASH Cluster operates on the principles of coordinated partnership, promoting a needs-based rather than capacity-driven response. This refocuses humanitarian response on affected populations, rather than on the organisations themselves. The Global WASH Cluster is open to actors working in emergency WASH from the UN Agencies, international humanitarian organizations, National Civil Agencies, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The membership is categorized with the following levels of involvement (see membership categories here):

1. Full members: envisioned to have voting rights and play an active role in determining the direction and role of the cluster and overseeing cluster responsibilities
2. Associate members (e.g. research institutes)
3. Standing observers (e.g. donors)
4. Adhoc/Special invitees (e.g. Governments, other clusters whether global or country level)