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News Water for the Poor Act Report 2009

WaterAid America, CARE and the Natural Resources Defense Council have produced a joint response to the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act (PL 109-211) Report to Congress 2009, calling for bold US action on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for the poor.


Passed in 2005, the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act (WPA) made the provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) an objective of US
foreign assistance.

In June 2009, the State Department released its fourth annual report to Congress on the implementation of the WPA. The 2009 Report shows that, despite mounting political will and support for WASH, many provisions of the WPA remain unimplemented.

For example, despite being mandated in the WPA four years ago, there is still no comprehensive US Government strategy for foreign assistance related to water, sanitation, and hygiene. A strategy would allow the US Government to enhance the impact and efficiency of its aid by setting out clear and consistent goals, objectives, and indicators that would allow the US Government to monitor progress and impact of its aid to water, sanitation, and hygiene.

WaterAid America, CARE and the Natural Resources Defense Council's response to the report offers the following recommendations to help overcome the barriers that are plaguing full implementation of the WPA:

  • The Administration should announce and deliver a US WASH strategy that includes requirements outlined in the WPA and is couched within a wider water strategy including sustainable management of water resources and productive uses of water. The Administration and Congress should work together to deliver the funding necessary to meet the short and long term goals identified in the WASH strategy.
  • The Administration should create an office in USAID , headed by a high level official, to lead WASH development assistance and interagency coordination and create a high level office focused on diplomatic freshwater issues in the State Department.
  • USAID should train existing Mission staff in WASH and recruit additional foreign service officers who are specialists in WASH.
  • Congress should pass the Water for the World Act and exercise strong oversight of US assistance to WASH.
  • The Administration should ensure that the level of need and ability to have a greater impact on the lives of poor people are the primary factors in determining WASH funding allocation levels.

Now is the time for the US to become a leader in global water, sanitation and hygiene and address the systematic weaknesses that have impeded the full implementation of the
law. This will require a clear commitment from the
Administration and Congress.

Visit the US State Department website to download the Water for the Poor Act 2009 Report to Co ngress. (link opens in a new window)

Download WaterAid America, CARE and NRDC's Water for the Poor Act Report Response 2009 (PDF 339KB)


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Source of information WaterAid America
Geographical coverage International
News date 30/10/2009
Working language(s) ENGLISH