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USAID World Water Day Statement
Date:3/23/2009

WASHINGTON, March 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- March 22 was World Water Day, an international day of observance that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.

The focus of World Water Day this year is Transboundary Waters: Sharing Water, Sharing Opportunities.

The Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005 makes access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene, within the broad context of sound water resources management, a clear objective for U.S. foreign assistance.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) supports $300 million per year in programs in poor and conflict ridden countries around the world. These programs' primary focus are in water issues associated with drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, because access to clean water is fundamental to life, peace, and security. In 2007, USAID provided clean water to over 2 million people in these countries.

Safe drinking water is becoming ever more precious and hard to find. More than a billion people in the developing world do not have access to clean water, and in many cases rely on water from polluted rivers, lakes, and unsafe wells or piped water supplies. The consequences are catastrophic, and the ever increasing competition for decreasing amounts of clean water contributes to conflict at many levels and can lead to outbreaks of serious diseases that can spread around the globe.

About 1.7 million children under age 5 died last year from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe water, and inadequate sanitation and hygiene in developing countries. Millions more were put at significant risk of exposure to life-threatening water-borne infections, such as cholera, typhoid fever and dysentery. Contaminated drinking water is a threat to people living with HIV/AIDS whose bodies have little ability to fight off infections that come
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SOURCE U.S. Agency for International Development
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