For many families in Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia, the absence of clean, reliable drinking water has become part of daily life.

They buy bottled water rather than drink what comes from the faucet. They collect rainwater in buckets, fearing there won’t be any running water at all the next day. They drive to natural springs on the sides of highways and backroads to fill up jugs for cooking and making coffee.

What should be a fundamental right has become a luxury for some in Central Appalachia, where residents are sometimes denied the dignity of a warm shower and fear the health effects of drinking discolored water. Now, those residents are Stirring the Waters, demanding that officials fix their long-failing infrastructure.

This series is part of a collaborative effort by the Lexington Herald-Leader, Charleston Gazette-Mail and West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with additional support from 100 Days in Appalachia. It was coordinated by The GroundTruth Project and its new initiative, Report for America, a national service program made possible in rural Appalachia with support from the Galloway Family Foundation.

Read more at, and

Read the Series Below:

[display-posts image_size=”medium” wrapper=”div” wrapper_class=”display-posts-listing grid” meta_key=”_thumbnail_id” category=”stirring-the-waters”]