Poll Reveals Majority of Americans Support Global Access to Safe Drinking Water

Providing safe drinking water and sanitation could improve millions of lives

In a recent Ipsos poll of 1,015 adults, 61% of Americans believe access to safe drinking water and sanitation should be a priority for the U.S. government when assisting developing nations.

In 2010, safe drinking water and sanitation were declared human rights by the U.N. General Assembly. The 61% of Americans that support safe drinking water and sanitation ranked it highest among key U.S. development projects, including ones that strengthen basic health care, improve opportunities for education, and defense or military training in developing countries.

"Access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation is a right that everyone in the world ought to enjoy but too few are able to realize," said Sen. Dick Durbin. "Water access is no longer simply a global health and development issue; it is a long-term threat that is increasingly becoming a national security issue. I hope this poll gives momentum to our efforts to ensure access to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation for everyone who seeks it."

Nearly one in eight people do not have access to safe drinking water, and millions of women in developing countries spend an average of 26% of their time collecting and transporting water for their families. This prevents girls from attending school and subjects them to adverse health effects from carrying a 40-lb container on their heads.

"Water is a fundamental human necessity in its own right and vital to sustainable progress in health, education, gender equality and poverty alleviation," said John Oldfield, managing director of the WASH Advocacy Initiative. "We are doing everything we can to help governments around the world progressively realize the right to water and sanitation in their countries."

Additional results from the Ipsos poll show that many Americans appreciate the links between safe drinking water and sanitation and sustainable progress:

• 70% of Americans understand that access to safe drinking water and sanitation has a significant impact on reducing illness;
• 66% feel similarly about safe drinking water and sanitation's effect on improving the quality of life in developing nations; and
• 46% believe access to safe drinking water and sanitation significantly impacts keeping children in schools in developing nations.

WASH Advocacy Initiative

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