Testifying in front of the House Committee on International Relations on June 29, ECSP Director Geoffrey Dabelko said, "The victims of dirty water need our help. The United States government has an active program, but we can do more, and we can do it better." Dabelko praised the "Water for the Poor Act 2005," which was introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., in April 2005. The expert panel at the hearing on "The Global Water Crisis: Evaluating U.S. Strategies to Enhance Access to Safe Water and Sanitation" included representatives from UN agencies, the U.S. State Department, USAID, and NGOs.
Dabelko focused on three key points:
- The United States can enhance its national security by increasing water and sanitation foreign assistance to developing countries. Furthermore, water management offers unique opportunities to build peace between parties in conflict.
- Integrating water and sanitation programs into other sectors will make water and sanitation programs more effective—and improve the results of programs in other sectors, such as health, agriculture, education, economic development, and conflict prevention.
- Improving donor coordination and increasing multilateral efforts would make water and sanitation foreign assistance more effective.
"The time is right for the United States to act on water and sanitation while it is a low-cost and high-return investment on foreign assistance," Dabelko told the panel. "It is critical to act now before the negative security impacts become more apparent, and while the benefits are still within reach."