The U.S. water crisis hot spots

These areas with poor access to clean water reveal who’s taking the hit from the growing water crisis.

Struggling with access to safe drinking water for years

The Navajo Nation is 1 of 6 American hotspots with severe water access problems according to a 2-year study from DigDeep and U.S. Water Alliance. Shanna Yazzie is one of over 2 million Americans living without access to running water or indoor plumbing. Native American families are 19x more likely than white households to lack indoor plumbing. The study found low income and minority communities are most impacted.

This is Yazzie’s morning routine to shower:

“As you can see, I use a five-gallon bucket of warm water. I don’t fill it all the way up, it only goes up to two and a half gallons and that’s all I use daily. I learn to use less and less all the time, quicker showers,” Shanna Yazzie tells Brut.


In McDowell County, West Virginia, 1/3 of residents live in poverty according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many homes lack water access and aren’t connected to sewer systems. Residents collect water from mine shafts from mountain sides and streams — which are polluted by industrial runoff.

Rural South

In Lowndes County, Alabama — which is 73% black — only 20% of homes are connected to sewer systems. Failing septic systems and wastewater lagoons expose people to raw sewage. 34.5% of residents who took part in a study tested positive for hookworm based on data from Baylor College of Medicine.

Texas Colonias

In the majority Latino Texas colonies, near the Mexico border, families must haul water by car or foot. They can also buy water that’s trucked in, but it's unsafe to drink. The homes were built on plots of land outside city limits without basic water infrastructure. Puerto Rico’s water systems are old and underfunded, leaving residents in rural and urban areas without water and sanitation access. High bacteria rates in surface water indicate widespread wastewater issues.

California’s Central Valley

California's Tulare County Is home to mostly lower-income Latino farmworker families. They live with unsafe drinking water because of groundwater contamination from arsenic and other chemicals.


01/09/2020 12:57 PM


  • Bill M.
    02/11/2021 06:21

    “...19x more likely than white households to lack indoor plumbing...” That’s a dishonest stat. Actually, it’s race-baiting bs. What % of white households live in a waterless desert? What % of urban black and hispanic households lack indoor plumbing? Audience: don’t be suckered by slick production.

  • Craig N.
    02/10/2021 15:24

    You have the same opportunities in this country as anyone else, they just ain't there on the rez....

  • Kamau W.
    02/10/2021 03:23

    Thanks brut I never expected the type in the US

  • Jenny L.
    02/10/2021 02:43

    Desalination .... pipeline= clean endless water 💧

  • Esther M.
    02/10/2021 02:15

    Where's all the NN Casino profit money,. Still no running water for alot of Dine' families on the rez. SHM NN.😪

  • Jesse R.
    02/10/2021 02:13

    So the government supported destroying their lands for oil pipelines to be built, but did not invest in bringing in waterlines to these communities?

  • Jones L.
    09/07/2020 14:12

    Human rights !

  • מנדוזה מ.
    07/12/2020 22:02

    If the water is contaminated then it’s not for drinking, obviously. It’s not a choice, it’s the big industries fault for their irresponsible waste dumping.

  • Dianna A.
    05/22/2020 21:54

    Why isn't America taking care of its native people people in the inner City get all the attention immigrants have people fighting for their rights but what about the people that were here first they seem to be worse off than the rest of us

  • Gina C.
    05/21/2020 18:26

    Dude, 2020. Fix it

  • Andronna J.
    05/21/2020 17:19

    sad. Wish I could do something

  • Randy E.
    05/20/2020 21:48

    Move somewhere eles

  • Alexander T.
    05/20/2020 16:54

    Hopefully the people who laughed at this drop dead

  • Jack H.
    05/20/2020 16:02

    They live in the middle of the desert?????

  • Robert J.
    05/20/2020 14:27

    You know if y'all help the people that y'all use in these videos it would be different but we still haven't got any help so thanks for nothing

  • Maria T.
    05/20/2020 02:30


  • Sharon B.
    03/02/2020 03:21

    America should be ashamed. You stole their land, raped their woman, treat them like animals. You deny them voting rights and so on. Evil, evil people, yet portray themselves as God fearing descend people.

  • Luz V.
    02/29/2020 14:03

    Shame in the United States to have the native Americans to the real true Americans of the United States living the way they live without running water and we call ourselves the best nation in the world shame on us and shame on all the presidents before and after

  • Cody M.
    02/29/2020 13:51

    Look at all the white privilege in WV..

  • Rickie H.
    02/29/2020 05:57

    This is sad but lady at the end was reading a script js