Every human being needs safe and affordable water, but in the United States, tens of millions of people still lack it. As the COVID-19 pandemic revealed, poor water infrastructure and the failure to provide universal access to safe water and sanitation threaten public health. Meanwhile, water shortages, poor management, and antiquated water systems threaten the nation’s food supply, ecosystems, and economy. Additionally, worsening climate changes are increasing the risks to water resources in the U.S., and conflicts over water around the globe threaten the nation’s national security.
In 2020, the Pacific Institute crafted a set of recommendations to the next president of the United States outlining the nation’s water challenges and calling for swift and meaningful action to carry the nation into a water-equitable and resilient future. The recommendations outline four key problems and their solutions, calling for the next president to improve federal water programs to protect public health, address the accelerating risks of climate change for water resources, assess and prepare for national security threats associated with water, and create a new National Water Plan.