NRCE has partnered with USAID under several contract mechanisms, including USAID’s Water and Development IDIQ (WADI), which was a 5-year, multi-award contract whose purpose was to provide services in water programming to improve health through the delivery of sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and to advance water resource management in agriculture for enhanced food security. NRCE served USAID as a small business prime contractor and, with partners, provided services and technical support related to water in assisting sponsoring units in Bureaus and Missions worldwide to achieve their goals and objectives across all sectors. NRCE currently holds a 7-year, multi-award contract with USAID for a Global Architect-Engineer Services Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite-Quantity (A&E III) mechanism. NRCE, along with partners, is poised to provide global infrastructure services – including infrastructure planning, engineering design, construction supervision, and related support – ranging from quick response to short- and long-term services in the areas of water resources (surface water and groundwater), water supply, wastewater, environmental, on- and off-shore facilities, land and air transportation, geotechnical and underground resources, vertical structures, seismic resilience of structures, and master planning of urban, industrial, and commercial zones.

In a rapidly changing environment, achieving water security for regions, nations, and individuals is one of the greatest development challenges confronting the world today. Climate change, population growth, increased energy demands and rising costs, increased urbanization, low sanitation coverage, watershed and environmental degradation, natural disasters, and conflict are putting water resources under increasing pressure. Yet access to clean water and sanitation is critical to improving health and increasing human productivity and economic growth.

Water scarcity already affects every continent and more than 40 percent of the people on our planet. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water stressed conditions. The annual economic impact of poor sanitation alone is more than 5-6% of GDP in some countries and research on the economics of sanitation and water indicates that no other single intervention brings greater public health returns. Similarly, water is a critical input to food security, which exists when people have the physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs.

Water scarcity can be a major cause of famine and undernourishment, particularly in areas where people depend on local agriculture for food and income. The importance of water in the development context and the increased pressure to satisfy potentially competing needs for water underscores the critical importance of properly managing the scarce water resources upon which human life and economic security depend. Against this context, USAID is embarking on a new Water and Development Strategy which focuses efforts on improved access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), and improved food security. By focusing programming on these two elements of the global water security challenge, USAID can be most effective in helping the world to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals.

USAID’s Water and Development Strategy provides the framework for focusing the Agency’s approach to water programming. Recognizing that limited resources are available, the Agency intends to achieve the greatest impact by focusing resources according to the following Strategic Objectives:

Strategic Objective 1: Improve health outcomes through the provision of sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH)

Strategic Objective 2: Manage water in agriculture sustainably and more productively to enhance food security