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March - July, 2009
The Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009 (S.624) is stuck in the Committee on Foreign Relations, and it needs at least 20 cosponsors in order to get the attention of Senate leaders. Please help us improve access to clean water and sanitation for the world's poorest people by asking your senators to cosponsor this important legislation.
In his Inaugural Address, President Obama said, "let clean waters flow." With those words, he brought recognition to the suffering of 884 million people who do not have access to clean water and 2.5 billion without adequate sanitation.
Senators Durbin and Corker introduced S. 624, The Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009, a bipartisan bill to make clean water a reality. But with only five cosponsors, the bill isn't getting the attention it needs for a hearing and further action by Senate leaders. It must have at least 20 cosponsors to move forward.
Unclean water and a lack of basic sanitation are undermining efforts to end extreme poverty and disease in the world's poorest countries. 884 million people in the world lack access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion, nearly two out of every five people, lack access to basic sanitation. People living in rural areas continue to be disproportionately underserved, as eight out of ten users of unimproved sanitation facilities live in rural areas.
Together, unclean water and poor sanitation are a leading cause of child mortality: an estimated 4,100 children die daily from diarrheal diseases, which are spread through poor sanitation and hygiene.
The benefits of improving access to water and sanitation go beyond any one sector, and it is estimated that every $1 spent on water and sanitation generates returns of $8 in saved time, increased productivity and reduced health costs.
The Water for the World Act targets underdeveloped countries with focused initiatives to improve access to clean water and sanitation; fosters global cooperation on research and development; provides technical assistance and capacity-building; provides seed money for the deployment of clean water and sanitation technologies; and strengthens the human infrastructure at USAID and the State Department to implement clean water and sanitation programs.
This bill will help establish the capacity and momentum we need to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on increasing access to water and sanitation by 2015. If those targets are met, the benefits will include a total annual economic return of $22 billion for Africa in saved time, increased productivity and reduced health costs. And 203,000 fewer children will die in 2015 from lack of access to clean water and sanitation.
Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) delivers remarks on the global water crisis and introduces bipartisan legislation to dramatically improve access to clean water and sanitation: the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009 (S.624). Joining him in introducing the bill are Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA).
A coalition of leading international health organizations join together to bring attention to the global water and sanitation crisis. Through a series of policy briefings and conferences, these organizations work to draw public attention to the grave risks people in developing countries face with improper access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
Senators Roland Burris (IL), Susan Collins (ME), and Jeanne Shaheen, Jeanne all sign on to S.624 as cosponsors during the month of April.
ONE members ask their senators to cosponsor the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009 (S.624), to get the bill moving through the Senate.
The "Water for the World" petition receives more than 30,000 signatures from ONE members in its first 24 hours.
Actor, writer and ONE supporter Matt Damon calls on ONE members to sign the Water for the World petition, stating that "water is one of the smartest poverty-fighting investments we can make."
Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) joins as a cosponsor for S.624, acknowledging ONE's petition -- which has more than 50,000 signers at this point. Isakson sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, where the bill is stuck, and is also the ranking member on the Subcommittee for African Affairs. His support means a lot in getting the Water for the World Act to the Senate floor for a vote.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) sign on as cosponsors for the Water for the World Act, bringing the total count of cosponsors to 9 (including Durbin and Corker, the original sponsors).
In just 25 days, 100,000 ONE members sign the petition asking their Senators to cosponsor S.624.
Since the day we delivered the petition, four more members of the Senate signed on as cosponsors of the Water for the World Act. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) cosponsored on July 6; Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) cosponsored on July 8; and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) cosponsored on July 15. This puts on record a total of 13 senators supporting the bill.
More than 100,000 ONE members called on Senators to provide first time clean water and sanitation for the world's poorest people by cosponsoring the Durbin-Corker Water for the World Act of 2009 (S. 624). MORE
The number of children who die every day from diarrheal diseases spread through poor sanitation and hygiene.
The annual economic benefit to the African continent, including in saved time, increased productivity and reduced health costs if the Millennium Development Goals on water and sanitation are met by 2015.
The amount national governments in sub-Saharan Africa could save in annual public health expenditures if the Millennium Development Goals on water and sanitation are met by 2015.