The lack of clean, reliable drinking water in Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia is stirring a public debate over the crisis and prompting calls to fix a long-failing infrastructure.

The U.N. defines access to clean water as a basic human right. A team of emerging journalists with Report for America set out to explore how it is possible that so many people living in Central Appalachia feel they don’t have this right. This six-month reporting project is a partnership of The GroundTruth Project, the home of Report for America, and three local news organizations: The Lexington Herald-Leader in KY and West Virginia Public Broadcasting and the Charleston Gazette-Mail in WV. This will be a series of written reports, a podcast episode in partnership with WVPB and a multimedia ‘special report’ on GroundTruth’s website including a short film documenting the team in the field on this reporting journey produced by GroundTruth Films. The project is made possible through a grant from the Galloway Family Foundation.

EXPLORE

STIRRING THE WATERS

‘Muddy, nasty water.’

STIRRING THE WATERS

‘Set the buckets out.’

STIRRING THE WATERS

Q&A with the reporters

STIRRING THE WATERS

‘Tip of the spear’