World Water Day: 2 Ways U.S. Partnerships are Making an Impact

March 22, 2016 By Miriam Smallman

When you woke up this morning you probably brushed your teeth. You probably used the restroom, showered, or drank a glass of water.

If this is true, it’s likely that you have access to a reliable water source: with the twist of a knob, you can summon safe drinking water on demand. Today, on World Water Day, we should recognize that access to a stable and clean source of water is still out of reach for many. Roughly 1 in 10 people across the world lack access to safe water.

The world has already made significant progress to achieve to goal of safe water and sanitation for all. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 427 million people gained access to clean water between 1990 and 2015 — an average of 47,000 people a day. And 2.1 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation facilities.

But there’s still more progress to be made.

Here’s a quick look at how global water investments — made possible through American public-private partnerships — are transforming local communities and the world a healthier, more livable place.

Procter & Gamble launched its Children’s Safe Drinking Water initiative in 2004. The company partnered with the Center for Disease Control & Prevention to develop water purification packets that remove more than 99.99 percent of disease-causing bacteria in water. The packets can be used to make clean drinking water for entire families, and have proven effective in reducing gastro-intestinal diseases in the developing world.

The Coca-Cola Company has also invested in water projects. Through its $65 million Replenish Africa Initiative, known as RAIN, Coca-Cola plans to bring access to safe water to 6 million people by 2020. In Lusaka, Zambia, for example, USAID has leveraged the RAIN initiative to provide safe water access for more than 40,000 people by installing community water kiosks, and has also provided sanitation facilities and hygiene education in Lusaka-area schools, benefiting up to 50,000 people.

Providing access to water isn’t just a moral investment, but an economic one too: every $1 invested in water and sanitation provides a $4 economic return. That means less time spent being sick, or caring for loved ones due to water-related diseases. It means less time collecting water and less time searching for sanitation facilities.

This World Water Day, let’s continue to strive to make clean drinking water and basic sanitation accessible around the globe. For more on World Water Day, check out USAID.

Photo: Source, USAID