The U.S. Department of State awarded a grant to the International Water Association in mid-June to improve drinking water safety in the Latin American and Caribbean region. The grant will support the ongoing development of a regional Water Safety Plan Network in order to promote an effective means of consistently ensuring the safety of drinking water through the use of a comprehensive risk assessment approach from catchment to consumer. Since 2006, the U.S. government has supported the promotion of water safety programs by funding demonstrations and the creation of the Network to ensure longer term sustainability of these efforts throughout the region.
The partnership will allow the International Water Association to establish a regional office in Lima, Peru, with the State Department providing seed funding for a local coordinator. The Water Safety Plan Network will help spread the knowledge needed to ensure sustainable access to safe drinking water as well as encourage multidisciplinary teamwork and interaction between water professionals in the public and private sectors who are concerned about drinking water quality and related sanitary issues.
Through this collaboration, the State Department and International Water Association will be able to help water professionals create innovative, pragmatic and sustainable solutions to challenging global needs. The International Water Association will act as a global reference point for water professionals, spanning all facets of the water cycle from research to practice. The U.S. government is committed to developing new partnerships that leverage the talent, resources, and expertise of the private sector and civil society to achieve global water security. For information on Water Safety Plans and the Latin American and Caribbean Water Safety Plan Network, please visit: www.wsportal.org
In fiscal year 2008, the U.S. government obligated more than $1 billion dollars for global water- and sanitation- related activities. It is committed to increasing equitable and affordable access to safe water and sanitation in developing countries, in close coordination with host country partner governments, civil society and other donors. For more information on U.S. government water activities, please read the recently published 2009 Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act Report to Congress at: www.state.gov/e/oes/water/
The State Department formally announced the new partnership at the World Water Week forum currently occurring in Stockholm, Sweden, August 16 to 22. The week-long forum allows global leaders and experts to share innovative solutions on water-related issues and its impact on poverty, health, education, gender equality and the environment. For more information, visit: www.worldwaterweek.org/