For millions of Americans, lack of access to water isn’t just a drought problem
Those dirty two or three gallons would be all they had for drinking, cooking, cleaning and bathing that day.
For these Americans, it is always Day Zero.
Water poverty affects nearly 1.6 million people in the United States, but it remains a stubbornly invisible crisis.
Before widespread solutions can be rolled out, however, we need to know who exactly is getting by without the taps and the toilets the rest of us take for granted.
Today, African Americans are twice as likely as whites to live without modern plumbing.
On the Navajo Nation, where I work, 40% of the nearly 170,000 residents still haul water home in bottles or buckets, often at great expense.
The most comprehensive data we have on U.S. water poverty comes from the Census Bureau, but it is maddeningly unspecific and often inaccurate.
The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey tells us there are about 1.6 million Americans living in housing that lacks "complete plumbing facilities."
Census data doesn’t explain why these communities still don’t have access to water and sanitation when nearly every other American does.
Most important, census data doesn’t explain why these communities still don’t have access to water and sanitation when nearly every other American does.