Safe, Affordable Drinking Water
Drinking water is fundamental to our health and well-being. However, across the country, access to clean, safe, and affordable drinking water – two thirds of which comes from streams and rivers – is not guaranteed. By equipping groups nationwide with the knowledge and capacity needed to advocate for equitable access to clean drinking water and influence decision makers at the federal, state, and local levels, we can advance the human right to water and ensure sustainable drinking water access for all.
Below, learn about River Network’s work related to drinking water and water infrastructure, and connect with our staff working on these issues.
Connect with Peers in the Drinking Water Access Exchange
This group was created to share and receive pertinent updates on the fight to halt water shutoffs and restore water access during the COVID-19 pandemic, and now serves as a platform for all working on drinking water access issues to share solutions and collaborate. Frontline groups, advocates and all others interested in staying up-to-date on this issue are invited to join and learn more about what’s being done across the country to end water shutoffs and ensure safe and affordable water for all.
The Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (CWSRF and DWSRF) represent the largest source of federal funding for water infrastructure. The SRFs are intended to support communities across the country by increasing their financial capacity to take on large water infrastructure projects, addressing everything from outdated and leaking pipes to increasing the storage capacity of their water treatment plant to ensure continuous delivery of safe and clean water to their residents.
In practice, however, the communities most in need of these investments often face barriers to accessing these dollars. We want to change that.
River Network supports advocates with our SRF Advocacy Toolkit, cohort-style training series offered in 2023, an entirely self-paced version of the advocacy training series, and hosting the SRF State Advocates Forum with our partners.
Explore the Drinking Water Guide
River Network’s Drinking Water Guide, available in both English and Spanish, is a first step in galvanizing a national network of advocates for safe, clean, affordable, and sustainable drinking water and drinking water systems.
The Guide is free to download and grounded in a philosophy of water equity. It serves as a key resource for groups and individuals working on these issues to better understand, integrate, and elevate issues of equity and justice as part of their drinking water advocacy.
NEW! Fact sheets based on information in the Drinking Water Guide.
Read the latest about what’s happening across the network:
- Read our latest update on the federal Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), by Shelby Cline
- Creating Connection Between Community and Water Utility Leaders – What We’re Learning, by Katherine Baer
- Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program Check-In, by Erin Kanzig
- Moving Toward Water Equity & Affordability: Low Income Household Water Assistance, by Sheyda Esnaashari
- Protecting Drinking Water in the Great Lakes, by Hannah Mico
The State Policy Hub highlights policies, resolutions, and plans related to drinking water focus areas: Access, Affordability, Lead, PFAS, Regionalization & Consolidation, and Water Data Access & Availability,
Use the Hub to find state policy language and examples of effective advocacy efforts at the state level.
Watch: The Drinking Water Playlist
Trust between water utilities and community organizations is critical for safe, clean, and sustainable water for all. In this video, meet two partnerships that have found success in Tucson and New Orleans.
Check out our Drinking Water 101 YouTube playlist! Each video breaks down a different section of our Drinking Water Guide to help you understand and advocate for your community’s drinking water.
What We’re Working On Now
- Equitable Infrastructure Investment
- Building Relationships Between Local Community Groups and Water Systems, with WaterNow Alliance: explore our Building Blocks of Trust report, to learn from successful community/water utility partnerships.
A collection of go-to resources on all things drinking water, curated by River Network staff. Find helpful information on a variety of topics including:
- Drinking Water Basics
- Water Infrastructure
- Water Equity
River Network also hosts a Great Lakes Drinking Water Advocates Database where GL-based advocates can make connections, build coalitions, and effectively partner with others across the region.