May 13, 2020 Feature

Native Americans Struggle to Obtain Potable Water

By Katharine H. Kinsman

A 2013 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report1 regarding public water supply systems nationwide noted that there were approximately 1.3 million consumers reliant on small public water supply systems in Indian Country.2 The report found that although violations had decreased at a rate of 10 percent between 2009 and 2013, 12 percent of the public water systems in use in Indian Country had health-based violations in 2013, compared to the 7 percent health-based violations reported outside of Indian Country. In 2017, the EPA estimated that tribal water systems average almost 60 percent more water quality violations than other public water supply systems.3

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