Omnibus Appropriation Includes Money for Water, Poor

President George Bush signed into law Dec. 26 the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2764), ensuring that federal programs will keep running through September. The law includes $300 million for safe drinking water and sanitation supply projects to implement the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005.

"Water Advocates commends Congress for providing this vital funding. Around the world, the health, education and economic well-being of a community often hinges on safe drinking water and basic sanitation. This Congressional support - which complements new and greater funding for water from private American citizens - will reduce disease and improve the quality of life for many of the world's poor," said David Douglas, president of Water Advocates.

The majority of preventable sicknesses in the world stem from contaminated drinking water and inadequate sanitation, which together kill between 2 million and 5 million people each year -- mostly children under five. 2008 is the International Year of Sanitation, an effort to bring attention to the fact that 40 percent of the world's population or 2.6 billion people lack adequate sanitation.

The Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-121) makes it a major goal of U.S. foreign policy to help halve the proportion of people without access to safe, sustainable, and affordable drinking water and sanitation by 2015, and creates a framework for achieving that goal.

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