Congress Passes Water for the World Act with Strong Bipartisan Support
Legislation is Key to Solving the Global Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Crisis
Washington, DC (December 15, 2014) - In an extraordinary bipartisan effort, the U.S. Senate tonight approved the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2014 by unanimous consent.The bill was sponsored by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Bob Corker (R-TN), cosponsored by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and led by U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Ted Poe (R-TX)in the House of Representatives.
The Water for the World Act will build upon the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005, which established access to safe drinking water and sanitation as a priority of America's foreign policy. Today's vote reaffirms the legacy of Senator Simon's lifelong dedication to global safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and its importance as a fundamental building block to alleviate poverty and improve health.
Patti Simon, wife of the late Senator, celebrated: "It's been almost a decade since the passage of the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005, and this year's bill is an important step toward increasing the impact of that original legislation. Paul would be proud of the momentum we're seeing to get safe, sustainable drinking water and sanitation to more and more people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America."
The Water for the World Act is a cost-free approach with enormous positive impacts on health, food security and nutrition, environmental quality, girls' and women's empowerment, and economic development across the globe. It calls for an increase in monitoring and evaluation of projects, particularly after the implementation phase, and ensuring that programming is targeted to help the world's poorest.
"This phenomenal bipartisan effort shows that water issues, particularly safe drinking water and sanitation, resonate with Americans, and they understand how they can tangibly help solve this problem," noted John Oldfield, CEO of WASH Advocates. "Our Representatives and Senators are following the impressive lead of their constituents around the country - church groups, Rotary Clubs, elementary schools, universities, and nonprofits - who are working to help solve this global crisis once and for all."
The Water for the Poor Act has made a tangible difference in the world. Every year, U.S. WASH programs bring better WASH access to millions of people across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In FY11 and FY12, USAID provided almost 7 million people with improved access to drinking water supply, and almost 3 million with improved access to sanitation.