Who We Are
We are a coalition of national, state and local organizations, religious institutions, legal organizations, unions and others working to win the passage of national legislation and state legislation on comprehensive access to safe, affordable drinking water and sanitation – the human rights to water and sanitation.
Statement of Principles
Every person should have access to safe, affordable water and sanitation. No person shall be denied access to basic water and sanitation services based on ability to pay, race, age, or gender. All state and local criminal law provisions that criminalize lack of access to safe affordable water and sanitation are a violation of constitutional due process and equal access guarantees.
Means that every person can pay for drinking water and sanitation without sacrificing another basic, essential human need – such as food, health care, housing, transportation, education, and emergency communications. No person shall be denied access to basic water and sanitation services based on ability to pay, age, disability, gender, or race. Drinking water and sanitation must not comprise more than 2.5-4% of monthly income for low-income persons.
Drinking water and sanitation services and facilities must be accessible at home, in schools, clinics, low income and elderly housing, and to homeless persons.
Safe drinking water must be free from microbes, parasites, chemical substances, heavy metals and radiological hazards that constitute a threat to a person’s health. Sanitation facilities must ensure the health and physical security of the person.
NCLAWater is rooted in years of water affordability work by the People’s Water Board Coalition. In June, 2015, the People’s Water Board, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, and the Lyda Pro Bono Lawyers Committee convened an international meeting in Detroit. The convening was attended by over 400 participants representing over 22 states of the United States, and 9 other countries. During the convening, the Lyda Pro Bono Lawyers Committee, and other NGOs, sponsored a meeting of advocates working on water and environmental justice in the United States. The convening set out an agenda for creating change at the national level (national legislation), state and local activism, to redress the injustices in the U.S. NCLAWater is a working group of lawyers and advocates who undertook the task of drafting model policy and legislation for use at the local, state and national levels.
Immediately following the convening, the National Coalition for Legislation on Affordable Water (NCLAWater) was created to adopt Federal and state legislation establishing affordable water and sanitation services, ensuring that every person has access to safe, affordable water and sanitation. NCLAWater is a coalition with co-coordinators representing an experienced track record of advocacy, litigation, research and reporting, and organizing at grass roots, local, state and national levels.
Colin Bailey is the Executive Director of the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water (EJCW). As an accomplished social justice attorney, Colin leads and supports EJCW’s statewide policy agenda, local and regional programs, outreach and education activities, and member organizations. Building upon California’s historic adoption, last year, of the Human Right to Water as state policy, EJCW now supports the grassroots effort to implement this mandate statewide. Colin serves on several local, regional, and national nonprofit boards, including that of the Sacramento-based Alchemist Community Development Corporation and Mutual Housing California, an affordable housing developer, as well as the advisory committee for a nationwide human rights advocacy program. He has served as chair of the Sacramento-based, Coalition on Regional Equity (CORE) and founded the Capital Region Organizing Project (or “CROP”) to build community-based power to advance equity and justice throughout the Capital region.
Alice B. Jennings is a partner in the law firm of Edwards & Jennings, P.C. Ms. Jennings was a founding member of the Black Women’s Lawyers Association. She is a member of the National Bar Association, the Wolverine Bar Association, the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association, the American Trial Lawyers Association and Trial Lawyers for Public Justice. In the early 1990’s, when the Mayor of the City of Detroit attempted to privatize city services, threatening the loss of thousands of jobs for City of Detroit workers, their families and residents, Ms. Jennings and her law partner Mr. Edwards were requested by elected officials, officials from labor organizations, religious leaders and community activists to give leadership to the movement that resulted in the creation of the Coalition to Stop Privatization and Save Our City. This movement led to the creation of a new City of Detroit Charter, which specifically prohibited privatization of City of Detroit government services, unless certain criteria were met. In 1995-1996, Ms. Jennings, then a founding member of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, was lead counsel, pro bono, with attorneys from the Sugar Law Center, regarding an incinerator in Flint, negotiated and acquired a first of its kind, thirty year consent judgment involving environmental justice issues, which prevented tons of toxic air particles and gases per year from entering our atmosphere. Most recently, in July 2014, in the face of thousands of water shutoffs, in residential homes, by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, Alice Jennings became lead attorney of a national legal team, filing a constitutional challenge to the irreparable harm occurring to citizens of the cities of Detroit and Highland Park because of this humanitarian crisis created by the massive shutoffs in residential homes and apartment buildings.. Importantly, the United Nations (UN) declared these water shutoffs by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department a violation of the United Nations Charter on Human Rights.
Patricia Jones is senior program lead for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s Human Right to Water. She has worked on projects for the United Nations, UNESCO, governments, and with international human rights institutions.
Monique Lin-Luse is Assistant Counsel of NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Monique has over ten years of advocacy, organizing, and educator experience in youth development, education access, social justice, and civil rights. She has focused her work on removing barriers to educational success for all students and ending the criminalization of youth of color. Monique is a proponent of community led interventions that utilizes multiple forms of advocacy to eliminate racial, gender and other disparities in education, housing, and economic opportunities.
Prior to joining LDF, Monique was the ninth Sol and Helen Zubrow Fellow in Children’s Law at the Juvenile Law Center of Philadelphia, where she worked on juvenile justice and child welfare system reform on the national level and in Pennsylvania. While at the Juvenile Law Center, she worked on ensuring constitutional protections for youth through impact litigation, direct representation, legislative advocacy and training child welfare and juvenile justice professionals.
Monique received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a Public Interest Law Scholar and a recipient of the Juvenile Justice Clinic Award. Monique also has a Masters in Secondary Social Studies Education and taught middle and high school students in New York City as a New York City Teaching Fellow. She graduated with high honors from the University of Michigan Residential College with a B.A. in Political Science and Afroamerican and African Studies.
NCLAWater Partners to Date
Edwards & Jennings, P.C.
Flint Democracy Defense League
Lyda Pro Bono Lawyers Committee
Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice
National Lawyers Guild – Wayne State University Law School Chapter
National Lawyers Guild – University of Michigan Law School Chapter