March 21, 2019

Produced by Rob Gunther and Alexandra Botti, PRI, WNYC 

On Friday, the UN observes World Water Day, to bring attention to the estimated 2.1 billion people around the world who do not have access to clean water.
But while much attention is focused on eradicating this lack of access in developing countries around the world, right here in the United States, there may be at least 1.6 million Americans without a tap or toilet in their home.
And while there’s an awareness that this crisis affects some of the most marginalized communities in the US, what’s missing is a comprehensive study to pinpoint exactly who doesn’t have access to this basic necessity.
George McGraw is the founder and CEO of DigDeep, a non-profit in Los Angeles working to chart the true scope and scale of America’s water access gap.
McGraw calls this phenomenon water poverty. He told The Takeaway, “If you don’t have access to regular hot and cold clean, running water in your home, something like a tap or toilet in your home, you experience a type of poverty that is worse than material or financial poverty.”
George joins the show ahead of World Water Day to talk about his ongoing “hotspot study.”
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This story originally appeared on WNYC Studios’ The Takeaway. Read and listen here.