Research press release


Nature Communications

Environment: Household water crisis in the USA assessed

米国では約50万世帯で水道設備が完備されておらず、さらに多くの世帯が質の悪い飲料水の問題に直面していることを報告する論文が、今週、Nature Communications に掲載される。こうした困窮の影響は、米国全土で特定の社会集団に偏っている。


今回、J. Tom MuellerとStephen Gasteyerは、米国国勢調査局と環境保護庁のデータを検討し、線形確率モデルを推定する方法によって、水の不公正をモデル化した。その結果、2014~2018年に、米国の世帯の推定0.41%で水道設備が完備されていないことが明らかになった。これは、48万9836世帯に相当し、米国全土における分布は不均一であった。一方、米国の市町村等水道システムの2.44%は、飲料水安全法に慢性的に違反しており、排水処理許可業者の6.01%は、水質浄化法に準拠していなかった。これら2種類の劣悪水質指標を用いて、2020年8月18日の時点で、計1165の市町村等水道システムに飲料水安全法の重大な違反があり、水質浄化法の許可を受けた2万1035の業者が重大な不適合状態にあることが判明した。より大きな影響を受けていたのは、高齢者、低所得者、教育水準の低い人々、そして、先住民族コミュニティーや農村部の人々であった。また、低所得者や有色人種の人々は、きれいな水を利用できず、水道設備が不完全である可能性が高いことも分かった。


Almost half a million households in the United States lack complete plumbing and many more deal with poor quality drinking water according to a study published in Nature Communications this week. This hardship disproportionately affects specific social groups around the country.

Water and sanitation issues have been a growing area of concern among policy organisations within the United States. Previous research has identified water access issue patterns associated with social inequalities in the US. However, this research has often focused on a single dimension of water hardship, which has left the wider scope of the issue unknown.

J. Tom Mueller and Stephen Gasteyer consider data from the United States Census Bureau and the Environmental Protection Agency to model water injustice. This was done by estimating linear probability models. The authors show that between 2014 and 2018, an estimated 0.41% of US households lacked access to complete plumbing, which equates to 489,836 households unevenly spread across the country, while 2.44% and 6.01% of US community water systems and wastewater permittees, respectively, have chronic Safe Drinking Water Act violations and are noncompliant with the Clean Water Act. Using these two measures of poor water quality, a total of 1,165 community water systems were found to be serious violators of the Safe Drinking Water Act and 21,035 Clean Water Act permittees were in significant noncompliance as of 18 August, 2020. Older, poorer, and less educated people were more significantly affected, as were Indigenous communities and those in rural locations. They also found that people with low income and people of colour were more likely to lack access to clean water and have incomplete plumbing.

The authors argue that specific types of water hardship require distinct policy solutions, while State-level differences in water hardship should be considered in future research.

doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-23898-z


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