MEDIA NOTE: Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield Announces $49 Billion in Water Security and Sanitation Action

United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
March 22, 2021

MEDIA NOTE: Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield Announces $49 Billion in Water Security and Sanitation Action

Today, on World Water Day, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, announced U.S. action of more than $49 billion to advance equitable access of climate-resilient water and sanitation infrastructure​ at home and abroad​.

This announcement coincides with the historic UN 2023 Water Conference taking place at United Nations Headquarters in New York March 22-24 where Member States are gathered to assess progress on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 on water and sanitation, and to identify actions needed to achieve the Global Goals by 2030.

“Billions of people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation or regularly face water scarcity, said Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Representative to the United Nations. “Through ​both ​the​ Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the​ White House Action Plan on Global Water Security, we are ​making critical investments in water at home and ​helping partner countries make progress toward the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”

“Water is life. It is essential to everything we do, from cooking our meals and raising our children to growing crops and stopping the spread of a deadly virus during a global pandemic,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who co-led the U.S. delegation to the Conference. “It is my honor to represent the United States with my friend and colleague Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield to shine a light on how water scarcity puts already marginalized communities further at-risk and to renew our commitment to protect this sacred resource.”

Domestically, the Biden Administration is taking unprecedented steps to ensure Americans have secure water access. From building climate-resilient water and sanitation infrastructure, to efforts to replace lead pipes and deliver safe drinking water to families and children, billions of dollars of funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act represents the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history, with an aim to direct 40 percent of the overall benefits to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.

Internationally, since the launch of the White House Action Plan in June 2022, targeted investments have helped the United States provide 5.4 million people with water, including 2.7 million women and girls, and 6.3 million people with sanitation, including 3.15 million women and girls. Eighty percent of those reached with sanitation services had never before had access to sanitation.

As adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, the SDGs represent a shared vision that depends upon partnerships between governments and civil society, the private sector, academics, and community leaders throughout society. Sustainable Development Goal 6 is essential to meeting many of these Global Goals, yet our progress has been uneven – deepening racial, ethnic, and gender inequalities while further marginalizing ​persons with disabilities​, at great cost to the global economy.

Worldwide, one in four people lacks access to safe water in their homes. Nearly half of the world’s population doesn’t have a hygienic toilet inside of their homes, and one third of people globally can’t wash their hands with soap and water at home – a burden disproportionately felt by women and children.

In the United States, more ​​than two million Americans lack access to clean drinking water, and more than one million Americans don’t have the plumbing required to flush a toilet. Across the nation, Indigenous people are 19 times more likely to lack indoor plumbing than non-Native households.

These investments in water and sanitation will safeguard public health and economic growth, enable us to respond to climate change and natural disasters, prevent conflicts, reduce the risk of famine and hunger, and create jobs.

Today’s announcements demonstrate American leadership and ingenuity and will advance equitable access of climate-resilient water and sanitation infrastructure service access at home and abroad.