WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) introduced a bill to dramatically expand Tribal access to clean water by investing in water infrastructure.
This bill would increase funding through Indian Health Service, Bureau of Reclamation, United States Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency to address the significant backlog of water infrastructure projects in tribal communities and provide clean water to the overwhelming number of Native American households who currently lack access.
“It is shameful that many Tribal communities, including in New Mexico, lack access to clean drinking water,” said Heinrich. “The federal government has a trust responsibility to invest in water infrastructure projects for Tribal communities that will finally deliver clean water to all families in Indian Country.”
“Clean water is a fundamental necessity for every community,” said Bennet. “The unacceptable reality is that many of our Tribal communities and Alaska Native villages still do not have access to clean drinking water. Our bill would take much-needed steps to reduce this disparity to ensure that Tribal communities, regardless of where they live, have access to safe, clean water.”
Currently, the lack of access to clean drinking water is a significant barrier for many Native American communities. According to data from the Indian Health Service, nearly half of Native American households do not have access to reliable water sources and clean drinking water. Lack of access to drinking water negatively impacts health, education, economic development, and other aspects of daily life.
In March, Senators Heinrich and Bennet introduced a resolution reaffirming the federal government’s responsibility to provide access to clean drinking water for Native American communities.
The bill text is available HERE.