Thumbnail cover image closing the water access gap reportNovember 2019

Our groundbreaking research—conducted in partnership with DigDeep—uncovering the scope of the national water access gap and proposing solutions to ensure water access for all.

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Access to clean, reliable running water and safe sanitation are baseline conditions for health, prosperity, and wellbeing. However, they remain out of reach for many in the United States, particularly Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color, as well as lower-income people in rural areas, among others. Our research revealed that more than two million Americans today lack access to running water, indoor plumbing, or wastewater services.

This report presents an analysis of the water and sanitation access challenge in the United States, leveraging both quantitative and qualitative research. It proposes a plan of action to ensure equitable water access in our lifetimes, highlighting opportunities for action by the water sector, government agencies, philanthropy, nonprofits, and the public. Finally, it showcases the promising approaches communities have developed to ensure that their residents can turn on the tap or flush the toilet without a second thought.

Our research was centered in the following regions, which are all experiencing water access challenges.