Office of Water

Indonesian children wash their hands to stay healthy.
Indonesian children wash their hands to stay healthy.


USAID has shown commitment to results in the water and sanitation sectors for several years.  We have:

  • 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
  • Provided more than 3.8 million people with improved access to drinking water supply and more than 1.9 million with improved access to sanitation facilities in Fiscal Year 2011
  • Brought 25,000 acres of farmland under improved irrigation, bringing new livelihoods, food security, and other benefits to more than 600,000 families in Afghanistan
  • Provided clean water to more than 2 million victims of devastating floods in Pakistan in 2011
  • Helped 1 million people living with HIV access clean water across Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria and Tanzania 

USAID Strategy and Program Focus

Water is essential to all life. Yet, nearly 800 million people lack dependable access to clean water and about 2.5 billion people lack access to modern sanitation, putting them at risk of disease. Poor water quality leads 2 million children to die every year from preventable diarrheal disease. And climate change is putting global water resources under enormous pressure, making reliable access to safe water a growing challenge and fueling competition for resources.

While issues of water and sanitation are often looked at in isolation, they are often critical to issues of food security, global health and climate change.  In FY 2011, USAID invested $558 million for water supply and sanitation, water resources management, water productivity, and water-related disaster risk reduction activities in 63 countries. This included $77 million in short-term, water-related humanitarian assistance activities.

We are committed to integrating water management across programs in agriculture and health 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

Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment (E3)’s Role

Achieving water security for regions, nations and individuals is one of the greatest development challenges confronting the world today.  Water is a foundational element of development. By its nature, as a basic and essential resource, water considerations cut across nearly every aspect of USAID programming.  Due to our commitment to the sector, E3 established a Global Water Coordinator in 2011 and an Office of Water in 2012, who collectively support a variety of stakeholders in water security.

The Water Office supports programs and promotes integration with the Presidential Initiatives of Global Health and Feed the Future and with other development objectives such as resilience, natural resource and coastal zone management, climate change efforts, humanitarian assistance, advancing education, and gender equality efforts.  Among other duties, the Global Water Coordinator is the senior Agency official responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Paul Simon Water for Poor Act. 

E3’s Partners

The Water Office closely collaborates with the Bureau for Food Security, Bureau for Global Health, Office of Science & Technology, Regional Bureaus, and other E3 offices to work towards integrated programming to achieve optimal impact for our beneficiaries.

Furthermore, we closely collaborate with a variety of private sector, international donor agencies, and NGO stakeholders including but not limited to the Coca-Cola Company, World Bank Group, Rotary International, International Water Management Institute, WASH Advocates, and Sanitation and Water for All. 

For More Information 

Last updated: November 08, 2013

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