A child drinks from a tap in Uganda. Photo by: USAID / CC BY-NC

The United States Agency for International Development unveiled on Tuesday its 2013-2018 water development strategy, aiming to improve health and food security.

The plan the first ever presented on this sector by the organization  zeroes in on two objectives: providing sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programs and managing water to increase food security.

“Beginning in FY 2014, the Strategy calls for all new USAID water programs to fully align with the two strategic objectives of the USAID Water and Development Strategy,” the strategy paper reads.

By 2018, USAID should have reached a minimum of 10 million people with access to safe water and 6 million with access to sanitation services. The agency should have also managed rain-fed and irrigated agriculture systems to increase crop yields.

The U.S. development agency spends about $558.4 million for water-related projects.

To make this strategy work, USAID will be more selective in funding high priority countries.

For instance, the U.S. development agency will be more likely to invest in those countries where more people don’t have access to safe water and more children below five years old die due to diarrhea. Countries under the Feed the Future list will likely be prioritized, according to the strategy paper.

USAID will favor as priority countries those whose governments show strong commitment to the plan, where the environment can support the projects, and opportunities abound for leveraging private sector investment.

“This Strategy responds to the need for USAID to focus investments and identify priorities within the wider role that water and watershed management play toward energy, conflict, climate change, education, biodiversity, ecosystems, and economic growth,” the document says.

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About the author

  • John Alliage Morales

    As a former Devex staff writer, John Alliage Morales covered the Americas, focusing on the world's top donor hub, Washington, and its aid community. Prior to joining Devex, John worked for a variety of news outlets including GMA, the Philippine TV network, where he conducted interviews, analyzed data, and produced in-depth stories on development and other topics.