Why Water Matters

Members of Congress and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah mingled with a crowd of 300 at the Water Strategy launch on Capitol Hill.
Members of Congress and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah mingled with a crowd of 300 at the Water Strategy launch on Capitol Hill.

On May 21, development professionals, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, NGOs, and the private sector convened in Washington, D.C. to launch USAID’s first-ever Water and Development Strategy and discuss its implications on development, women, politics, and security, among other topics.  Here is what some of them had to say.

“The issue of water is a core part of how America expresses our moral values and our power to the farthest corners of the globe.
Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator, USAID

“The United States can define itself, its values, and its role in the world by standing up for things that are so basic and so fundamental [that] they are apolitical.  And water is one of those things.” 
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill)

“We all know that the United States has not just a moral obligation but a self-interest to make sure that we don’t have the instability, upset, and the turmoil occasioned by the lack of access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene.”
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore)

“It’s shocking to most Americans that a third of the world at least don’t have clean water for sanitation, for drinking, for any purpose.”
Rep. Lloyd “Ted” Poe (R-Tex)

“Water is a development issue, it's an economic issue, it's a security issue, it is a health issue, and it is a food security issue.  Water is essential for life and that water is the highway on which everything can be generated.”
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del) 

“This [Strategy] demonstrates that the United States is a moral leader in addressing an issue that is of extreme concern and a life and death matter for many people in many countries.”
Robert Hormats, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, U.S. Department of State

“With this Strategy that has been so many years in the making, USAID’s very powerful voice is focused on sustainability and not just the fancy words, but on the slow, messy process of community engagement.”
Lisa Nash, CEO, Blue Planet Network

“With the kind of investment that we can make in women, I’m certain that we can see … These kinds of initiatives ripple out and impact the entire community and in fact, the world.” 
Gemma Bulos, Director, Global Women’s Water Initiative

“In keeping with the legacy of the Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act, we believe that the Strategy that we’re launching today will do a great deal to benefit the lives of millions of people throughout the developing world.”
Christian Holmes, USAID Global Water Coordinator

Last updated: June 19, 2013

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