Washington, DC - To commemorate World Water Day, March 22, 2018, the U.S. Department of State held a public-private forum: “Increasing U.S. Private Sector Participation to Achieve Global Water Security.” Co-hosted with the U.S. Water Partnership, the event looked at how the U.S. government could better support U.S. companies to deploy water solutions in key countries to meet growing water needs. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Judith Garber and National Executive Committee Member for the U.S. Water Partnership Ambassador Harriet C. Babbitt delivered remarks.

U.S. companies, water experts, and officials from across the U.S. government exchanged insights on challenges and opportunities for U.S. businesses in the global water sector. The forum outlined U.S. interagency tools to support U.S. exports in water technology, goods, and services. The event also highlighted U.S. official financing programs, explored innovative finance tools for water infrastructure, and discussed how to better deploy U.S. solutions to respond to natural disasters and emergencies. Lastly, since the global water and wastewater market is valued at over $700 billion annually and growing, the forum looked at the top ten potential foreign markets for U.S. water technology exports and examined obstacles and opportunities for U.S. companies.

By 2025, nearly two-thirds of the world’s projected eight billion people will be living under water-stressed conditions, including roughly a billion people who will face absolute water scarcity—less than 264 gallons per person per year. In response to this growing crisis, the U.S. government in 2017 released the first U.S. Global Water Strategy, a comprehensive roadmap involving more than 17 U.S. government agencies and departments. The Strategy’s goal is to create a more water-secure world by building capacity, mobilizing resources from all sectors, promoting science and technology, and engaging diplomatically and through partnerships with governments, finance partners, NGOs, consumers, research institutions, and especially U.S. private sector technology and service firms.

On World Water Day 2018, the forum underscored that U.S. technology and innovation have an essential role to play in building a future in which every person has access to clean water.