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Water is life—critical to the health, socioeconomic, and cultural needs of any community. Every household in the United States needs and deserves access to clean, reliable, and a ordable drinking water. Yet, tribal communities face high rates of water insecurity. More than a half million people—nearly 48 percent of tribal homes in Native communities across the United States—do not have access to reliable water sources, clean drinking water, or basic sanitation. In comparison, as a whole, less than 1 percent of households in the United States lack these facilities. This persistent problem became a matter of life or death during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the lack of running water increased the risk of transmission of the virus. is article addresses the lack of clean water access experienced in Indian Country today. Various challenges to water access are highlighted, followed by a discussion of the federal government’s responsibility to ensure clean water access for tribes. The article concludes by identifying federal actions to ful ll this responsibility, including the recent commitment of unprecedented funds to support tribal water infrastructure.
Heather J. Tanana, Securing a Permanent Homeland: The Federal Government's Responsibility to Provide Clean Water Access to Tribal Communities, 69 FED. LAW. 52 (2022).