Though access to safe, affordable drinking water and basic sanitation is a necessity for all people, and is acknowledged by the member states of the United Nations as a human right, there is an escalating water crisis in the United States affecting families, neighborhoods and individuals. ...Read More
The new administration is rushing to spend public funds on ill-advised infrastructure. While environmental protection and investment are essential to food, water, and economic security in the United States in the face of climate change impacts, aging infrastructure and degradation of natural resources, these must be accompanied with protections for low-income and vulnerable populations to ensure all have access to safe, affordable water. Without community-driven solutions, the rush to fund water, sanitation, storm water and climate adaptation infrastructure in the water sector will work largely to the benefit of private engineering and construction firms and lock-in regressive policies and programs that disproportionately affect low-income people by saddling them with an unsupportable cost burden.
Those affected most profoundly are low income, people of color, including indigenous First Nations people, children, women, persons with disabilities, and our elders. The suffering from lack of access impacts residents of large urban cities like Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, and Washington D.C. Suburban and rural communities across the country do not have access – Alabama to California and New Mexico to West Virginia. Contaminated drinking water are poisoning children with lead from Flint, Michigan to St. Joseph’s, Louisiana, to Los Angeles California. Homeless persons are without water and sanitation facilities in many states, with no provisions made for their access. Criminalization is occurring across the nation, with laws, which label customer necessity and self-reconnections as criminal, in some states as a felony.
The national water crisis has affected thousands of urban and rural homes where people are suffering the daily indignity of not having running water for their human needs, health, hydration, cooking, bathing, and sanitation, including sewage services for the most basic function of waste removal. Utilities are creating public health emergencies by delivering toxic water and mass water shut offs of thousands of homes.
Unjust and outdated law and operating policies result in consequences of discrimination, violations of due process and constitutional rights, foreclosures, children being taken into foster care, and criminal prosecutions of householders and homeless persons. Presently there is no transparency regarding water shutoffs or national data collection of statistics regarding toxic and unsafe water. In the United States today – if you cannot pay for water, sanitation and storm water services – you are at risk of losing your basic rights, health, home, children, and liberty.