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?

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  • Lynne M.
    04/22/2020 09:57

    It’s 2020. unbelievable .

  • Love G.
    04/22/2020 00:50

    Politician consumes money intended for navajo nation.

  • Beverly K.
    04/21/2020 22:47

    Join us...... You will have your running water

  • Betty N.
    04/21/2020 22:00

    Hey Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer I just saw you on the news I saw an ants eating ice cream rubbing it in people's faces and her to $25,000 refrigerators and Chuck just gave hundreds of thousands to a couple different restaurants that have only been shut down for a few weeks steakhouses not even small businesses I'm sure these people in Virginia. They're $1,200 you a****** Chuck Schumer I don't know how you live with yourself😣

  • Karen K.
    04/21/2020 21:18

    Appalling conditions. How is this happening? These are the "first people" Native to Americzn. How are they living this way?

  • Kenneth H.
    04/21/2020 20:58

    Sell a casino and buy a water system with a tower.

  • Alan G.
    04/21/2020 20:45

    But they keep saying it's the greatest country on earth! 🤣🤣🤣

  • Butch T.
    04/21/2020 18:55

    Remember these are the first people our country promised they were looking out for their best interest

  • Susanne E.
    04/21/2020 18:52

    This is unthinkable! Really! In America! Shame on us!

  • Kwang-Tak T.
    04/21/2020 15:25

    Developed country like a developing country!?

  • Shanine L.
    04/21/2020 15:17

    This is crazy no running water😲

  • Alfred C.
    04/21/2020 15:12

    What I dont understand their is a camp Navajo national guard in Arizona Department of Emergency and military affairs our brother's and sister's should be getting more help from them

  • Jeff M.
    04/21/2020 15:06

    stop voting blue

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