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WaterAid America statement, U.S. announces historic Action Plan on Global Water Security

Publication date

WaterAid applauds the historic White House Action Plan on Global Water Security, which was launched by Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House this week. This action plan takes the significant step of making water security, including access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), a major component of US foreign policy for the first time.

More than a quarter (27%) of the global population currently lives in severely water-scarce areas and this percentage is predicted to more than double by 2050. Climate change, natural disasters and conflict threaten global water security and sanitation services in homes, schools and healthcare facilities.

WaterAid welcomes the groundbreaking commitment made by the Vice President to secure America's role of leadership on water security issues. The White House Action Plan directly links access to water and sanitation around the world to U.S. national security and global stability, and it harnesses the resources of the U.S. Government to advance global water security, safe sanitation, gender equity, food security, and economic growth.

WaterAid America's CEO, Kelly Parsons, said, "It was an honor to be at the White House for the launch of this historic policy, which finally recognizes the role of water, sanitation and hygiene as integral to our global safety, shared future, and combatting climate change. Whether it be access to water for drinking or food production, hygiene for pandemic and disease control, or sanitation for safe and healthy communities, WASH is paramount in saving lives and addressing the most basic of human needs and it is under increasing threat.

"This Action Plan is a huge step forward and aligns with WaterAid's mission to ensure that everyone, everywhere has clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. We are looking forward to continued partnership and consultation for the upcoming US Global Water Strategy, which will operationalize this Action Plan as the US leads globally in this important space."

Core objectives of the Action Plan include:

  • Advancing U.S. leadership in the global effort to achieve universal and equitable access to sustainable, climate-resilient, safe, and effectively managed water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services without increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Promoting sustainable management and protection of water resources and associated ecosystems to support economic growth, build resilience, mitigate the risk of instability or conflict, and increase cooperation.
  • Ensuring that multilateral action mobilizes cooperation and promotes water security, elevating water security across diplomatic efforts and identifying opportunities where water engagement can lead to stronger regional ties.
    The upcoming refreshed U.S. Global Water Strategy will operationalize the action plan, including through partnerships with nongovernmental organizations and the private sector. By acknowledging the challenges unique to each region and community, this systems-based strategy maximizes programs and investments while making water an essential contributor to U.S. national security.

Read the complete Action Plan on Global Water Security


Notes to Editors:

Jeff Greene, Communications and Engagement Officer,


WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 28 million people with clean water and nearly 29 million people with decent toilets.

For more information, visit our website, follow us on Twitter @WaterAidUK, @WaterAid or @WaterAidPress, or find us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

  • 771 million people in the world -- one in ten -- do not have clean water close to home.[1]
  • 1.7 billion people in the world -- more than one in five -- do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]
  • Around 290,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's more than 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.[3]
  • Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity.[4]
  • Just £15 can provide one person with clean water.[5]