WaterAid today celebrates U.S. House of Representatives passage of the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2013, H.R. 2901. After Senate Foreign Relations passage of a companion bill, S.2946, last week, the full Senate is currently considering the bill. WaterAid urges Senators to support S.2946 to allow the bill to go to the President’s desk for signature.
“WaterAid and our partners around the world are absolutely thrilled with House passage of Water for the World,” said Sarina Prabasi, CEO of WaterAid America. “We are grateful to all the Members of Congress who support this bill, especially Congressmen Blumenauer and Poe, for their fearless commitment to smart, lifesaving investments in international safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene programs. We call on the Senate to follow suit this week, so that this important legislation can become law.”
With House passage of Water for the World, the U.S. Government is one step closer to being able to better meet the needs of the 2.5 billion people who do not have access to a toilet and the 750 million people who still live without safe drinking water. The bill will ensure that limited dollars allocated to these lifesaving programs will be used efficiently and effectively, and, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will not increase expenditure of taxpayer dollars.
Access to safe drinking water, sanitation and toilets and hygiene promotion, such as those provided for by Water for the World, can prevent leading causes of child mortality, improve nutrition, increase girls’ educational access and success, safeguard physical and cognitive growth, and even reduce vulnerability to violence against women. It can also help return to the global economy $260 billion lost each year due to lack of access to these basic services and, according to a 2012 National Intelligence Estimate on Global Water Security, help safeguard US national security, as well.
Water for the World has only one hurdle left to clear before being sent to the President. The Senate must now urgently pass the bill to ensure the momentum shown by the House translates into lives saved and communities improved this year.
WaterAid is the world’s largest international non-profit organization solely dedicated to helping the world’s poorest people gain access to safe water, toilets and hygiene education. WaterAid works in 26 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific region. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 21 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 18 million people with toilets and sanitation.
• Around 1,400 children die every day from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation.
• 748 million people in the world live without safe water.
• 2.5 billion people live without sanitation; this is 39% of the world’s population.
• For every $1 invested in water and sanitation, an average of $4 is returned in increased productivity.
• Just $25 can enable one person to access a lasting supply of safe water.