A new report from the US Water Alliance, Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan, developed in partnership with DigDeep and Michigan State University, found that more than two million Americans live without access to running water, indoor plumbing, and safe sanitation; that communities of color are more likely to lack water access than white communities; and that the disparity is particularly extreme for Native Americans. Poverty is also a key barrier to water access, according to the report, which suggests that challenges are the result of historical and geographical factors that have left entire communities without adequate services.
The report’s four-part action plan calls for:
- Reimagining the solution – defining water access as a crisis, providing interim solutions, and developing alternatives to traditional infrastructure;
- Deploying resources strategically – expanding federal funding, creating funding options for private wells and septic systems, and building a domestic WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) sector;
- Building community power – using data to bring visibility to the challenge, supporting community-led water governance, and building relationships between impacted communities; and
- Fostering creative collaboration – supporting system consolidation, leveraging private sector expertise, and designing multi-benefit solutions.
The report is available from www.uswateralliance.org/resources/publications.