by Lauren Adamson
If passed by Congress, the Water for the World Act will help bring safe water and sanitation to millions of people who suffer a lack of access to clean, safe drinking water, which in turn leads to disease, malnourishment, and often death. Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly plagued by this lack of safe water, and while Wells Bring Hope has drilled 171 wells in Niger, the WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) crisis continues in developing countries worldwide. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee took an important first step toward ending this crisis by voting unanimously in favor of Water for the World Act on June 19. If Congress as a whole passes the bill, it would initiate the process of providing 100 million people with safe water and sanitation (usually in the form of toilets or latrine).
Safe water is not a partisan issue; it is a human rights issue, which is why the Water for the World Act is one of the rare acts with bipartisan support. In addition to being being a moral imperative, providing for safe water and sanitation in the developing world is sound economic policy as well. Every $1 spent on WASH yields an $8 return in saved health costs and increased productivity. Nevertheless, the Water for the World Act needs national attention and support from the House of Representatives before it can begin to have a transformative effect on millions around the world.
As we often mention here at Wells Bring Hope, safe drinking water completely transforms the lives of the people who obtain it for the first time. In Niger and other impoverished countries, clean water especially benefits women and girls. When a well is drilled in a rural community, women and their daughters no longer face the hazardous, grueling task of walking miles for water that often makes them and their families ill, despite their efforts. A well allows girls to go to school (often for the first time) and provides their mothers with extra time to generate an income using the microloans Wells Bring Hope provides. We hope to see The Water for the World Act passed soon so that 100 million people can have the basic need for safe water met. Having access to safe, clean water is something the developed world rarely thinks about, because it is so readily available here. It is important to remember that there are still over 800 million people without access to safe drinking water.
Read more about The Water for the World Act here.
To voice your support for the act, you can go here to contact your senators and representatives.