Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Water for the World Act passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Happy Wednesday.

Senator Richard Durbin and Senator Bob Corker both issued press releases yesterday praising the passage of the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009 out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by unanimous agreement.  

For Sen. Corker's statements, see here.

For Sen. Durbin's statements (not online as of this morning), or for a copy of the Act as passed out of committee, send me an email.

Some excerpts:

“The needs around the world are tremendous, but our foreign aid dollars are limited. We need to make every single penny count by better focusing and coordinating our efforts,” said Corker. “A lack of clean water leads to the deaths of 1.8 million people year – 90 percent of them children, stifles economic growth, keeps women and girls from going to work and school, and has contributed to political unrest in Sudan and elsewhere. Experts tell us every $1 invested in safe drinking water and sanitation produces an $8 return in costs. I’m a fiscal conservative, and I want to see each of our foreign aid dollars go as far as possible, so for many reasons, I believe water is one of the wisest places we can invest.” 

“Access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation is a right that everyone in the world ought to enjoy but too few are able to realize,” Durbin said. “Water access is no longer simply a global health and development issue; it is a long-term threat that is increasingly becoming a national security issue. I hope the Senate can pass this legislation before this problem reaches a devastating tipping point.”

Building on the progress achieved through the Water for the Poor Act, Senator Durbin introduced the Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009 in March of 2009. With the goal of reaching 100 million people with first time access to clean drinking water and sanitation, Durbin’s Water for the World Act would do the following:

• Target underdeveloped countries with focused initiatives to improve access to clean water and sanitation;

• Foster global cooperation on research and technology development, including regional partnerships among experts on clean water;

• Provide technical assistance and capacity-building to develop expertise within countries facing water and sanitation challenges;

• Provide seed money for the deployment of clean water and sanitation technologies; and

• Strengthen the human infrastructure at USAID and the State Department to implement clean water and sanitation programs effectively and to ensure that water receives priority attention in our foreign policy efforts.