Rob Katz

Water for the World: Congress Weighs In

As its summer session gets going, the water temperature is already rising in the Capitol. The US Congress is currently debating legislation that would prioritize clean water projects within America’s international aid budget and push the private sector to get involved, too. The bill’s co-sponsors say that the private sector can quickly and effectively provide clean water using innovative technologies. Opponents contend that privatized water systems in developing countries tend to exclude the poor in order to break even, and have introduced competing legislation that keeps water provision in the public sphere. It will be interesting to keep an eye on these bills as they move through Congress. Will US companies currently developing new clean water technology shift research and development elsewhere if opponents win? Most importantly, how will underserved communities be affected by shifting priorities in the US international aid budget? It may be a long, dry summer before we find out. For more, check out this segment from NPR’s “Living on Earth” radio show here.