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
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  • Jim C.
    03/22/2020 19:32

    Instead of spending millions of our tax payers dollars on golf trips, why doesn't Trump help these people ?

  • 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

  • Brenda K.
    02/29/2020 04:05

    This is unacceptable that ANY community within the United States does not have running water. The indigenous people Of the states have been shafted so much and not respected. This infuriates me!!!!

  • Jay T.
    02/29/2020 02:14

    On reservations the tribes pretty much rule the local issues like that

  • Gerardo M.
    02/28/2020 16:07

    Why would you wanna live there? There's nothing there not even a store a block away... To better my kids I wouldn't live there at all..

  • Philip S.
    02/28/2020 02:59

    We spend billions on the military and basic resources for our citizens are can this be?.....this is the USA......

  • Edgardo C.
    02/28/2020 01:01

    It s not true about PR ....It s not the best water and sewer system but is fine ....

  • Carol C.
    02/27/2020 10:47

    Most tribes don't have water

  • Roberta L.
    02/26/2020 19:49

    This is shameful

  • Lisa F.
    02/26/2020 15:19

    But here we are building walls

  • Avery Z.
    02/26/2020 02:55

    this is us next time a pipe bust

  • Tiffany M.
    02/25/2020 05:47

    Whats stopping them from getting running water?

  • Edward M.
    02/24/2020 13:51

    Third worldism first hand and right here in the wealthiest country in the world.

  • Sher E.
    02/24/2020 01:41

    Notice majority of these places are minority groups 🤔🤔

  • Elizabeth S.
    02/24/2020 01:02

    We must fight for you. You were here before all of us. I respect ✊ you!

  • Rich N.
    02/23/2020 18:18

    very shameful how we have treated the American indains😡

  • Neeto R.
    02/23/2020 16:26

    Lack of basic necessities yet proud of most powerful destructive forces manufactured!?!?!