Free Interactive Report
Clean Water and Sanitation in the US
By 2030, UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, aims to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. This includes securing access to safe drinking water, improving water quality and water use efficiency, and protecting and restoring freshwater ecosystems.
In the US, 91% of public water systems are supplied by groundwater, while 68% of the US population use systems supplied by surface water sources such as lakes and rivers. More than 1 million people lack consistent access to safe drinking water, a bathroom, and hot and cold running water.
The drivers behind a person's lack of access to clean water and sanitation services are wide-ranging and include the monetary cost, water sources, and facilities available based on geographic location, government regulations, and more. Lack of access can also impact whole communities. This often occurs more in rural areas than in urban settings, with strong correlations between race and income levels, as well as access to affordable and safe housing. Over 500,000 people experiencing homelessness face challenges with consistent access to water and sanitation resources.
Use the tool below to view water-related indicators nationally or by state, as well as an overview of the more than 6,100 nonprofits organizations that work on addressing related issues in the US. You can also discover 106 products and services in our Tech for Good Directory related to water utilities, drinking water, water use efficiency and other key areas of water quality.
toilets, sinks and clean water
and no access to toilets,
sinks and clean water
Violations in 2020
* Health-based violations occur when the level of contaminant(s) in the water, or the type(s) of water treatment techniques being used do not comply with what’s allowed by law.
** Monitoring and reporting (MR) violations – Failure to conduct regular monitoring of drinking water quality, as required by SDWA, or to submit monitoring results in a timely fashion to the state environmental agency or EPA.
Interactive Chart Sources:
- Health and Monitoring Water Violations: United States Environmental Protection Agency – EPA: 2011 to 2020.
- Access to Clean Water, Sinks, Toilets: GC Insights analysis and classification of US Census Bureau 2020 data.
- Nonprofit-related data: GC Insights analysis of over one million forms 990 filed with the Internal Revenue Service -IRS 2018-2021
- SWDA – Data Summary
- CDC – Water Sources
- EPA – Summary of the Clean Water Act (CWA)
- EPA – Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
- Global Citizen – Millions in the United States' Most Vulnerable Communities Lack Access to Water and Sanitation
- SDG Tracker – Water and Sanitation
- NRDC – Flint Water Crisis
- ASCE – Drinking Water
- US Water Alliance – Closing the Water Gap