Voorhees, NJ - September 21, 2005
Water poverty, the lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation, persists in epidemic proportions throughout the world. As North America's largest water company, American Water is taking steps to combat it.
"American Water takes its mission of being the nation's trusted water resource provider very seriously," said Jim McGivern, Executive Vice President and Board Member of American Water. "As part of that mission, we have an obligation to help in alleviating water poverty around the world."
Water poverty afflicts more than a third of humanity. More than 2.6 billion people are without adequate sanitation, and 1.1 billion have no access to safe drinking water. Water-related diseases are the leading cause of death in the world, killing more than 14,000 people each day, and killing a child every eight seconds.
The United Nations formulated its Millennium Development Goals in response to these realities. One of the goals aims to halve by 2015 the number of people who lack safe drinking water and basic sanitation. American Water is committed to helping achieve this goal, and is currently involved in a series of activities that are making progress toward it.
One such activity is American Water's involvement with Water for People (WFP), an international non-profit organization whose mission is to provide safe drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene education to people in developing countries. American Water is a significant supporter of WFP, which works through local partner organizations in each country to build systems that match local community needs and are sustainable in the long term because they can be maintained by local workers. By matching employee donations to WFP, American Water and its employees have contributed $110,000 to WFP since March and was the premier sponsor of the Sanctuary Golf fundraising event, which raised nearly $250,000 for the organization.
American Water is also working to raise awareness of global water issues. The Company is a lead sponsor of the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia's upcoming speaker event featuring U2 singer Bono, who will be discussing his work to combat global poverty.
In early 2005, American Water also underwrote the production costs for Running Dry, a documentary inspired by late Senator Paul Simon's book Tapped Out: The Coming World Crisis in Water and What We Can Do About It. The film highlights issues of water supply and quality around the globe.
"As part of the world's third-largest water and wastewater company, we understand the importance of providing safe water, adequate sanitation, hygiene education and, most importantly, dignity to impoverished people in developing countries," McGivern continued. "That's why we are committed to increasing awareness of the issues and to working toward identifying sustainable solutions for those in crisis."
People in crisis have been a particular focus of American Water's recent efforts to reduce global water poverty. The Company launched disaster relief efforts benefiting both victims of the tsunami in December and of Hurricane Katrina last month.
American Water matched employee donations to raise over $90,000 for the Red Cross for tsunami relief efforts, and is currently running a similar program that has already raised over $80,000 to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The Company will be providing other forms of support as well, McGivern said. "Whether it be equipment, such as generators, pumps, and pipeline, or the expertise that will be necessary to assess and rebuild the damaged systems, we are prepared to respond."
Voorhees, NJ-based American Water manages over 57,500 miles of water distribution systems and supplies drinking water and other related services to over 18 million people in 29 states.
With a history of over 100 years, American Water employs approximately 7,000 people and reported over $2 billion in revenue for fiscal 2004. The Company is part of RWE's Water Division, RWE Thames Water, which is headquartered in Reading, UK. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.