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Letter: Water for the world

In the next two months, Congress has the opportunity to improve the way it spends U.S. foreign aid on clean water, sanitation and hygiene programs so that countries with the least access become the priority. But the bipartisan bill that would do so is not yet a priority for our lawmakers.

Clean water is an issue that most of us don’t have to think about. We simply turn on the tap to wash our hands, take a drink or cook dinner. But 748 million people around the world go without clean water, many of them children.

This lack of access to clean water kills. Globally, it contributes to two of the three leading killers of children under five. Diarrhea is the most serious of these diseases, killing almost 1,400 children each day.

But we have the power to keep these children alive and all it takes is a quick call to your member of Congress to make sure they know about the Water for the World Act, a bill that is currently before the U.S. House of Representatives.

By amending the Water for the Poor Act of 2005 and responding to USAID’s new Global Water Strategy, the Water for the World Act will make better use of existing funding, strengthen accountability for water programs already underway, and ensure the greatest impact on communities worldwide without spending new money or creating new bureaucracy. More importantly, it will save lives. Please join me in advocating for this important legislation.

However, time is running out to pass this bill before the 113th session of Congress closes, and the women and children who spend hours each day collecting water from bacteria-ridden ponds and streams can’t wait another year for clean water. Please contact your representative today and ask them to support the Water for the World Act (HR2901).

JAN MARTIN BOPP

Bennington, Vt.

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