Senate Foreign Relations Committee Passes Legislation To Create USAID Office Of Water

“The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved legislation [by voice vote] Tuesday launching a government effort to provide 100 million people in the world’s poorest countries with first-time access to safe drinking water and modern sanitation,” CongressDaily reports.

The bill would establish an Office of Water under USAID, which would work on country-specific water projects. “It would also provide a special coordinator for international water within the State Department to coordinate the diplomatic policy of the United States on global fresh-water issues,” according to the publication.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) sponsored the legislation. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Donald Payne (D-N.J.) have introduced a similar version in the House. Some global health groups have said the bill encourages private projects instead of “helping developing countries modernize water management policies,” CongressDaily writes (Kivlan, 4/14).

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Policy Tracker has additional information about the bill (4/13).