U.S. Department of State Releases Fourth Annual Report to Congress on Water and Sanitation Strategy in Developing Countries

Media Note
Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
June 27, 2009

On June 26, 2009, the U.S. Department of State released the 2009 Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005 Report to Congress (PDF) describing U.S. Government efforts to expand access to safe drinking water and sanitation, improve water resources management and increase water productivity in developing countries.

This report is required by Section 6 of the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005. The Act makes the provision of safe water and sanitation services in developing countries a component of U.S. foreign assistance. It requires the Secretary of State, in consultation with USAID, to develop and implement a strategy to support this goal within the context of sound water resource management. This is the Fourth Report to Congress.

In FY 2008, the United States obligated more than $1 billion for water- and sanitation-related activities in developing countries (excluding Iraq). Of that amount, over $820 million was obligated in 95 countries worldwide to improve access to safe drinking water and sanitation and promote hygiene. Investments in Sub-Saharan Africa rose to $646 million in FY 2008.

The United States remains one of the largest bilateral donors to water and sanitation activities in developing countries, accounting for 10 percent of all official assistance to the water and sanitation sector in 2006–2007. The United States also remains one of the largest donors to several multilateral development banks and intergovernmental organizations, which are significant contributors to water and sanitation projects. More important are the results we are achieving. As a result of USAID investments, more than 7.7 million people received improved access to safe drinking water and more than 6.2 million received improved access to sanitation. Of these, more than 4.6 million received first-time access to an improved drinking water source and more than 2.1 million to improved sanitation.

This year’s report includes – for the first time – country specific plans for achieving U.S. goals and objectives along with measurable indicators to track progress and report results. The report also highlights the work of U.S. agencies and departments to build partnerships, improve science and technology capacity, and increase the political will among developing and donor countries to address water and sanitation challenges.

We believe these are significant steps that represent a growing commitment by the United States to make water a core element of our foreign assistance. This and previous reports in response to the Act can be found at 2009-2017.state.gov/e/oes/water.

PRN: 2009/650