U.S. Government Accountability Office - Water and Sanitation Assistance - 2015

Millions of people in developing countries lack access to safe water and improved sanitation. Congress passed the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005 to improve access to safe water and sanitation for developing countries. In 2013, USAID released its first Water and Development Strategy, which includes the objective of improving health through sustainable WASH.

GAO was asked to review USAID’s WASH efforts. Focusing on WASH activities in 9 selected countries, this report (1) describes recent activities and funding, (2) assesses USAID missions’ efforts to plan and implement activities, and (3) assesses USAID’s monitoring of activities. GAO selected a nongeneralizable sample of 9 countries from USAID’s list of 22 priority WASH countries. These 9 countries received about 53 percent of funding attributed to WASH for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. GAO also selected 16 activities for detailed review in the 9 countries, primarily on the basis of levels of funding. GAO analyzed USAID WASH funding data for fiscal years 2012 through 2014 and reviewed agency documents, interviewed mission officials, and visited sites in 2 African countries.

GAO recommends that USAID take steps to improve monitoring and reporting of WASH activities, by identifying and addressing reasons for missions’ inconsistent adherence with agency guidance. USAID generally concurred with the recommendations and, in particular, outlined steps it is taking to address the report’s second recommendation.