Beyond resistance: Ensuring access to water and sanitation for all

September 2, 2017

Dear Friends,

It is the 36th day of my email series, “Beyond Resistance: The things we should do to make us safer, healthier, and more economically secure.” Today’s topic: ensuring access to water and sanitation for all.

I’ve long worked in Congress to ensure sustainable, equitable access to clean water and sanitation for people throughout the world. The need is clear, and the facts are staggering. 2.1 billion people are without a safely managed drinking-water service, and 2.3 billion people still do not have basic sanitation facilities, leading to preventable disease and premature death.

With 263 transboundary lake and river basins that cross two or more countries, water imbalances magnify security and health threats to the United States and our allies. These threats include water-related diseases such as Ebola and cholera, and droughts that lead to famines displacing millions of people.

Troublingly, the Gaza Strip is on the verge of a similar crisis. Home to nearly two million people, Gaza is one of the most water-stressed areas on the planet. The water supply, largely groundwater, is being rapidly depleted and polluted. It will soon be unfit for human consumption, as it’s contaminated with sewage from above and with salt-water encroachment into the aquifer from the Mediterranean Sea below.

We can all agree that the lack of clean water poses a security threat to Israelis and Palestinians alike, so I’ve led bipartisan efforts in Congress to encourage the administration to prioritize the impending crisis in Gaza. And we’ve seen some progress. In part because of U.S. involvement, the Israelis and Palestinians recently reached two water-sharing agreements. By making progress on water, we can bring people together, build the trust needed for future negotiations, and create better conditions for peace. 

I’ll continue working to ensure that the United States plays a lead role in addressing the world’s most severe water crises. This will save lives and benefit U.S. strategic interests.

I welcome your thoughts, ideas, and opinions. You can connect with me here.


Earl Blumenauer

Member of Congress