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DC Convening Makes Strides Towards Building a Formalized U.S. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector

This is a logo for DigDeep, a nonprofit working to ensure that all Americans have access to safe and reliable water and wastewater services at home.

DigDeep is a nonprofit working to ensure that all Americans have access to safe and reliable water and wastewater services at home.

Organizations came together last week to champion universal access to reliable and safe water and wastewater services within the United States of America.

A formal U.S. WASH sector will become a powerful engine driving universal access to safe, reliable water and wastewater services for all Americans.”
— George McGraw, founder and CEO of DigDeep
WASHINGTON, DC, USA, October 11, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Last week, DigDeep, the first nonprofit solely focused on ensuring universal water access within the United States, along with leading international WASH organization Water For People, hosted a convening to address the growing need for a formalized U.S.-specific WASH sector to effectively solve domestic water and wastewater challenges.

Today, 2.2 million Americans live without running water or a flush toilet at home, while tens of millions more face water access challenges related to contamination or affordability. NGOs from high-income countries have worked for decades to solve water and sanitation challenges in developing countries abroad, but most Americans remain unaware of the crisis in their own backyard.

Over the course of two days, DigDeep and Water For People led over a dozen of the nation’s key WASH leaders in discussions for how to build a structured coalition for collective action; begin setting nationwide priorities; share data, technology and funding approaches; and align on policy advocacy efforts.

“The water access crisis in the United States is too large for any one organization to solve alone,” says George McGraw, founder and CEO of DigDeep. “The global WASH sector has improved access to drinking water for billions of people abroad by aligning government agencies, funders, NGOs, and frontline communities into a powerful network for change. It’s our goal to replicate that success here at home. There are lots of smart and driven people working on this problem domestically, but we lack coordination. A formal U.S. WASH sector will become a powerful engine driving universal access to safe, reliable water and wastewater services for all Americans.”

A formalized U.S. WASH sector would consist of a well-structured coalition of NGOs, government agencies, funders, researchers, technologists, and community advocates all working collaboratively towards shared goals, like UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 which “ensure[s] availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” Eventually, this U.S. WASH sector could grow to encompass hundreds of organizations.

This convening builds off earlier efforts DigDeep and others have made towards building a formalized U.S. WASH sector, including an open-source database of organizations working to improve water and sanitation access: https://www.digdeep.org/wash-sector.

In addition to leaders from DigDeep and Water for People, participating organizations included representatives from US Water Alliance, Xylem, International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), IRC WASH, Moonshot Missions, the Johns Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health, Pacific Institute, the Center for Water Security and Cooperation, and Sanitation and Water For All, among others.

Catarina de Albuquerque, former UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Right to Water and Sanitation and current CEO of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), delivered the keynote address, remarking, “This group’s mission to create a genuine, vibrant, cooperative WASH sector here in the US, the richest country on earth, sends a powerful signal to the world.”

This convening was a precursor to the first annual U.S. WASH Conference, which will be open to all U.S. WASH organizations and partners, to be held in 2023.

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