Washington, DC – Americans are wisely spending more time in their homes, which naturally increases their water consumption. Water bills are going up, too. States and utilities have stepped up to meet this moment, they will no longer cut off water to homes that fail to pay their bill.
More than 100 public utilities, in at least 34 states, have committed to not discontinuing water service. This is critically important, because medical professionals have been clear: washing your hands with soap and water (for 20 seconds) is the easiest way to safeguard yourself from COVID-19.
Read more about efforts by states and public utilities in Bloomberg Environment.
By Amena Saiyid
More than 100 public utilities in at least 34 states have agreed to halt the practice of cutting off water to homes that fail to pay their water bills during the coronavirus crisis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been urging people to wash their hands regularly with soap, saying it’s one of the most effective methods of keeping the Covid-19 virus at bay. But that’s only possible if a household has running water.
D.C. Water is among 114 public drinking water utilities announcing they would discontinue water service cutoffs for nonpayment as of Monday, according to Mary Grant, director of the nonprofit Food & Water Watch, which is tallying such announcements by utilities and states.
Detroit, which provides its own water and sewer service like most municipalities, was the first city to announce payment plans and assistance March 9 to help restore water to nonpaying customers.
“There really should be a national ban in this moment of crisis,” Grant said.
There are about 50,000 drinking water utilities in the U.S., according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates. While public utilities work with low-income customers to set up installment plans or assistance programs, many utilities will cut off service if payment isn’t made.
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