Water quality is essential for the health of this planet and its people. Contaminated water and poor sanitation threaten the health of billions of people world-wide, yet the solutions to clean, quality drinking water are available. Investment in water and sanitation pays off -- every $1 spent results in an estimated $3-34 benefit in time savings, productivity, and reduced health care costs. Tell your representatives to support investment in clean water for a healthy world.
On March 22 we celebrated World Water Day, concentrating on the importance of clean water for the health of children, adults, and the ecosystems around the world. Investment in water and sanitation pays off -- every $1 spent results in an estimated $3-34 benefit in time savings, productivity, and reduced health care costs. The U.S. government must urgently address the global water and sanitation crisis, as well as other issues that threaten the survival of billions of people. I, therefore, urge you to support the following:
* at least $500 million for sustainable safe water and sanitation to continue to implement the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act (P.L. 109-121). To accommodate increases for water and sanitation, a corresponding increase in the overall Development Assistance account is necessary.
* at least $1 billion in funding for Maternal and Child Health Account
Together, this funding supports life-saving water, sanitation, and hygiene programs and child survival programs for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children worldwide.
Water-related diseases are responsible for 80% of all illnesses and deaths in the developing world. Diarrhea alone -- directly caused by dirty drinking water or unsanitary conditions -- claims the life of a child every 15 seconds.
Yet, simple and cost-effective solutions exist, which can dramatically reduce the number of needless deaths each year. Investments in water quality and quantity can reduce childhood deaths from diarrhea by 15-20%, better hygiene like washing hands and handling food safely reduces deaths by 35%, and improved sanitation reduces deaths by 40%.
With your leadership on these issues, we can dramatically decrease both child mortality and the long-term physical and cognitive problems caused by the most common and deadly childhood illnesses.
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