World Water Day

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Statement by Administrator Samantha Power

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Office of Press Relations

Today, on World Water Day, Ukrainian families are melting snow and dismantling their heating systems even amidst cold weather, just so they and their families can have a drink of clean water. The millions of Ukrainians living in cities besieged by Russia’s brutal war, unable to access the basic necessities of life, serve as a grim, powerful reminder of the importance of water to our lives and livelihoods.

The latest analysis estimates nearly 2.2 billion people—almost one-third of people on the planet— lack access to clean and reliable water. Water security is also under threat worldwide, making it increasingly difficult for billions of people to access safe drinking water, for businesses to operate, and for farmers to grow crops and raise livestock—all of which endanger health, prosperity, stability, and resilience to climate change. In a world that continues to be rocked by senseless conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the climate crisis, these trends are only likely to grow.

To stem the tide of water scarcity and strengthen water security around the world, today USAID is announcing that we intend to provide a new $1.2 billion, three-year commitment to bolster foreign assistance on sustainable water security and sanitation so that people and nations have the water they need to be healthy, prosperous, stable, and resilient. We look forward to working with Congress to support this critical investment and build on the significant annual contributions USAID also makes on humanitarian water security, sanitation, and hygiene efforts.

This commitment is in addition to the Agency’s 2021 pledge to mobilize private and public financing for water and climate action. At COP26, President Biden launched PREPARE, the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience, to help half a billion people adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change. As part of PREPARE, USAID committed to leveraging $1 billion in financing for climate-resilient water and sanitation services by 2030.

Later this year, USAID and the Department of State will also release the revised U.S. Government Global Water Strategy. This interagency strategy will continue to prioritize water governance and finance and will emphasize the need to accelerate access to drinking water and sanitation and hygiene, conserve and manage freshwater resources; and prevent water-related sources of conflict.

Today, we celebrate the success of USAID’s efforts to help 59 million people gain access to water services and 44 million gain improved sanitation. But we also stand resolved in our commitment to the goal that every person—regardless of the conflict or pandemic or natural disaster they may face—has access to safe water and sanitation.

Last updated: November 29, 2022

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