Many international organizations and charities are involved in water-related aid programs, including the World Bank, the European Union, and UN agencies. The United Nations declared 2013 as the “International Year of Water Cooperation,” but for any chance of cooperation, the United States must continue foreign aid to improve reliable access water. Most of the organizations funding support come through grants and loans. Moreover, there are many bilateral arrangements between developed and developing world countries. Over the last few years, there were an average total annual aid budget of $3.5 billion for water-related projects, with bilateral arrangements contributing the lion’s share ($2.25 billion). The World Bank was the largest single donor ($1.9 billion). It mainly works with African, Caribbean and Pacific developing countries, and helps to define and to implement water policies focusing on sustainable water management. These institutions provide grant aid or loans for development projects, support bilateral programs and transfer knowledge and technology.
The Global Water Partnership (GWP) has estimated that $180 billion per year is necessary in order to ensure adequate water supplies (water treatment, supply infrastructure and irrigation) in developing countries. This is a doubled amount of the present level of investment. Many developing countries clearly do not have the resources or money to cover these costs. Moreover, there is no single aid government or agency that can provide all funds.
Foreign aid and assistance to improve access to water is both a strategic investment and a moral imperative. However, some argue that aid makes the countries more dependent. Even though drinking water is a basic human need, helping those countries with money make them weaker and consequently, they won’t become self-reliant and will be more dependent on funds.
There are some empirical data shows that aid on water is positive. In the Journal on Globalization and Health report (2011), they researched the relationship between official development assistance and changes in access to water sanitation. The result shows that the aid was effective since the establishment of the MDG (Millennium Development Goals). Countries receiving official assistance are 4 to 18 times more likely to have access to improved water supply than countries without aids.
Although aid is not an ultimate cure or solution in developing countries, cutting aid would cause more harm. Thus, there needs to be further cooperations among countries and organizations so that the developing countries can have a sustainable access to clean water.