Water is essential to health and food production. Currently, nearly 800 million people lack dependable access to clean water and about 2.5 billion lack access to modern sanitation, putting them at risk of disease. Food production is the largest consumer of water, and also represents the largest unknown factor of future water use as the world population continues to increase. Global population growth projections of two to three billion people over the next 40 years, combined with changing diets, are expected to increase food demand 70 percent by 2050.
Our Water and Development Strategy steers USAID’s water programs toward key themes consistent with two of the most important ways we rely on water: water for health and water for food. It is our hope that improvements in WASH programs, and sound management and use of water for food security will save lives and advance development.
That’s why we are committed to integrating a focus on water across our agriculture, health and climate work by:
- Expanding access to water supply and sanitation to promote better hygiene and fight preventable disease, especially to vulnerable communities;
- Increasing water productivity in agriculture and industry to boost output while conserving a precious resource;
- Improving water resource management and reforming governance and regulations to equitably share access and defuse competition; and
- Strengthening resilience and response to disasters in order to help countries adapt to a changing climate.
We have a long history of delivering results:
- We've brought safe water and sanitation to more than 50 million people, while assisting governments and private firms to plan, manage and distribute water more equitably and affordably.
- In Afghanistan, USAID-supported agricultural programs brought 27,387 hectares under improved irrigation in FY 2012.
- USAID is educating communities about improved WASH. Using rainwater-harvesting systems, thousands of liters of clean water are now available to students for hand washing in 69 schools in 11 districts of Ghana.
- USAID is working to improve watersheds in Malawi while building the capacity of farmers. In FY 2012, a USAID program rehabilitated 13 micro-watersheds and increased the yield of smallholder farmers through training in improved agricultural techniques and access to treadle pumps for better irrigation.
To learn more, read:
- Safeguarding the World’s Water (FY 2012)
- Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act Annual Report to Congress (FY 2012)
- Water and Development Strategy Highlights
Last updated: March 24, 2014