By Linda Searing,
About 471,000 U.S. households, including more than 1.1 million people, do not have access to running water, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, based on census data. Their dwellings lack what it refers to as “complete plumbing,” meaning piped-in, hot-and-cold water, plus a bathtub or shower accessible only to residents. Most of the households without tap water access (73 percent) are found in metropolitan areas, with almost half (47 percent, or 220,300 households, 514,000 individuals) living in the country’s 50 largest metro areas, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and Atlanta and, in the Mid-Atlantic region, Washington, Baltimore, Richmond and Virginia Beach. Residents without piped-in water are about 35 percent more likely to be people of color and 61 percent more likely to rent than own their dwelling. Water access at home is considered fundamental to healthy living. It is considered a key component to basic hygiene. Public health experts say regular handwashing with soap and water is a key ingredient to fighting disease, especially now as the coronavirus pandemic is spiking around the globe. Access to clean drinking water is also vital to health. Our cells and organs need water to function properly, and lack of sufficient water each day can be life-threatening, experts say.
— Linda Searing
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