The U.S. State Department estimates roughly 4,000 people die every day from preventable diseases tied to contaminated water. Apart from health issues, however, access to basic sanitation and sustainable water supplies are become national security issues.
"Competition for water and that lack of access to basic water and sanitation services may become a source of conflict," said Maria Otero, U.S. undersecretary for civilian security, in an address from Washington.
She said U.S. intelligence assessments on global water security found water challenges are becoming security issues.
Otero said the international community needs to mobilize financial support, raise awareness and build the capacity for basic sanitation and sustainable water supplies. While there's no "silver bullet," she said, science and technology can also play a role in mounting water concerns.
She said the international community needs to work together so potential solutions are shared across the globe.
"We will ensure water issues stay at the top of our foreign policy and national security agenda," she said.