For the first time in history, the federal government has created a U.S. Global Water Strategy that aims to address “a growing global water crisis that may increase disease, undermine economic growth, foster insecurity and state failure, and generally reduce the capacity of countries to advance priorities that support U.S. national interests.”
“Safe water and sanitation are fundamental to solving challenges to human health, economic development, and peace and security,” states the report, submitted Nov. 15 to Congress.
The report was requested by Congress in 2014. It outlines four goals: protect watersheds from pollution; increase access to safe drinking water and sanitation; improve water management; and prevent conflict over water that crosses political boundaries.
According to a story in Circle of Blue, “The strategy identifies 13 high-priority countries and regions, most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa, that will be first in line for U.S. funding. Afghanistan and Haiti are also on the list, as are Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. These areas were selected based on need, willingness to work with U.S. partners, and the likelihood that aid will improve health and well-being.”
The story points out that, “For years the U.S. government has funded water wells and irrigation systems abroad and provided technical support to farmers, water managers, and political leaders from the Mekong to the Nile. The actions were piecemeal, though. The strategy released on November 15 is an attempt to align federal agency responses to increasing social and economic pressures from water scarcity, floods, and pollution.”
The move to create the strategy underlines the importance of clean water supplies and points to the seriousness of the growing global water crisis.