“SEC. 2. FINDINGS.“Congress makes the following findings:
Water-related diseases are a human tragedy, killing up to five million people annually, preventing millions of people from leading healthy lives, and undermining development efforts.
A child dies an average of every 15 seconds because of lack of access to safe water and adequate sanitation.
In the poorest countries in the world, one out of five children dies from a preventable, water-related disease.
Lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene practices are directly responsible for the vast majority of diarrheal diseases which kill over two million children each year.
At any given time, half of all people in the developing world are suffering from one or more of the main diseases associated with inadequate provision of water supply and sanitation services.
Over 1.1 billion people, one in every six people in the world, lack access to safe drinking water.
Nearly 2.6 billion people, two in every five people in the world, lack access to basic sanitation services.
Half of all schools in the world do not have access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
Over the past 20 years, two billion people have gained access to safe drinking water and 600 million people have gained access to basic sanitation services.
Access to safe water and sanitation and improved hygiene are significant factors in controlling the spread of disease in the developing world and positively affecting worker productivity and economic development.
Increasing access to safe water and sanitation advances efforts toward other development objectives, such as fighting poverty and hunger, promoting primary education and gender equality, reducing child mortality, promoting environmental stability, improving the lives of slum dwellers, and strengthening national security.
Providing safe supplies of water and sanitation and hygiene improvements would save millions of lives by reducing the prevalence of water-borne diseases, water-based diseases, water-privation diseases, and water-related vector diseases.
Because women and girls in developing countries are often the carriers of water, lack of access to safe water and sanitation disproportionately affects women and limits women’s opportunities at education, livelihood, and financial independence.
Between 20 percent and 50 percent of existing water systems in developing countries are not operating or are operating poorly.
In developing world water delivery systems, an average of 50 percent of all water is lost before it gets to the end-user.
Every $1 invested in safe water and sanitation would yield an economic return of between $3 and $34, depending on the region.
Developing sustainable financing mechanisms, such as pooling mechanisms and revolving funds, is necessary for the long-term viability of improved water and sanitation services.
The annual level of investment needed to meet the water and sanitation needs of developing countries far exceeds the amount of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and spending by governments of developing countries, so facilitating and attracting greater public and private investment is essential.
Meeting the water and sanitation needs of the lowest-income developing countries will require an increase in the resources available as grants from donor countries.
The long-term sustainability
of improved water and sanitation services can be advanced by promoting community level action and engagement with civil society.
Target 10 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals is to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015.
The participants in the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, including the United States, agreed to the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development which included an agreement to work to reduce by one-half ‘the proportion of people who are unable to reach or afford safe drinking water,’ and ‘the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation’ by 2015.
At the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the United States announced the Water for the Poor Initiative, committing $970 million for fiscal years 2003 through 2005 to improve sustainable management of fresh water resources and accelerate and expand international efforts to achieve the goal of cutting in half by 2015 the proportion of people who are unable to reach or to afford safe drinking water.
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 58/217 (February 9, 2004) proclaimed ‘the period from 2005 to 2015 the International Decade for Action, “Water for Life”, to commence on World Water Day, 22 March 2005’ for the purpose of increasing the focus of the international community on water-related issues at all levels and on the implementation of water-related programs and projects.
Around the world, 263 river basins are shared by two or more countries, and many more basins and watersheds cross political or ethnic boundaries.
Water scarcity can contribute to insecurity and conflict on subnational, national, and international levels, thus endangering the national security of the United States.
Opportunities to manage water problems can be leveraged in ways to build confidence, trust, and peace between parties in conflict.
Cooperative water management can help resolve conflicts caused by other problems and is often a crucial component in resolving such conflicts.
Cooperative water management can help countries recover from conflict and, by promoting dialogue and cooperation among former parties in conflict, can help prevent the reemergence of conflict.
“SEC. 3. STATEMENT OF POLICY.“It is the policy of the United States—
to increase the percentage of water and sanitation assistance targeted toward countries designated as high priority countries under section 6(f) of this Act;
to ensure that water and sanitation assistance reflect an appropriate balance of grants, loans, contracts, investment insurance, loan guarantees, and other assistance to further ensure affordability and equity in the provision of access to safe water and sanitation for the very poor;
to ensure that the targeting of water and sanitation assistance reflect an appropriate balance between urban, periurban, and rural areas to meet the purposes of assistance described in section 135 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961
[this section], as added by section 5(a) of this Act;
to ensure that forms of water and sanitation assistance provided reflect the level of existing resources and markets for investment in water and sanitation within recipient countries;
to ensure that water and sanitation assistance, to the extent possible, supports the poverty reduction strategies of recipient countries and, when appropriate, encourages the inclusion of water and sanitation within such poverty reduction strategies;
to promote country and local ownership of safe water and sanitation programs, to the extent appropriate;
to promote community-based approaches in the provision of affordable and equitable access to safe water and sanitation, including the involvement of civil society;
to mobilize and leverage the financial and technical capacity of businesses, governments, nongovernmental organizations, and civil society in the form of public-private alliances;
to encourage reforms and increase the capacity of foreign governments to formulate and implement policies that expand access to safe water and sanitation in an affordable, equitable, and sustainable manner, including integrated strategic planning; and
to protect the supply and availability of safe water through sound environmental management, including preventing the destruction and degradation of ecosystems and watersheds.