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:
As of 2015 more than 7.6 million people have received improved access to drinking water supply; more than 4.3 million people have received improved access to sanitation; and more than 3.1 million people have benefited from improved agricultural water management.
Since 2008, USAID has allocated more than $2.9 billion on WASH and has continually worked to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of these investments.
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, the Agency invested more than $499 million towards water-related investments in 54 countries. More than 83 percent of these investments, $416.6 million went toward water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs to improve health and advance development.
USAID Water and Development Timeline (PDF 3.5MB)
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Last updated: January 18, 2017