ANN ARBOR, MICH. (April 9, 2020) – Congress must pursue a strategy that ensures its response to the COVID-19 crisis helps those who need it the most and sets our nation on a path to a strong, robust recovery, wrote 75 members of the Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition, in letters delivered to the US House and Senate today. They called for water service to be restored for those people who have had their service shut off as well as a moratorium of water shutoffs.
The letters call on Congress to institute a moratorium on water shutoffs and restoration of water services to those who have already had it shut off to ensure that no American is without the basic need of clean, safe water during this crisis. The letters also call for a broader strategy of water infrastructure and restoration investments, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, that ensure that the nation comes out of this crisis with a more secure water system, and that the cracks in our water infrastructure and delivery systems are repaired for the long term.
Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition Director Laura Rubin said:
“Clean water is a basic human need, and we must ensure that everyone has access to it. We must address the water insecurity crisis by focusing on inadequate federal investment. At a time when COVID-19 is ravaging communities across America, it is unconscionable that Americans are being cut off from the water they need to live and protect themselves from this terrible disease.
“But our response cannot stop at the immediate problem. Congress must look further and invest in water infrastructure and restoration projects that will help all our communities recover in a way that’s durable and long-lasting.”
The letters from the Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition read:
“The federal government, working with state and local agencies, must require utilities to stop water shutoffs and safely restore water service to households that have lost it … Alarmingly, one nationwide assessment revealed that around 15 million Americans experienced a water shutoff – one out of every 20 households across the country. In Detroit, 112,000 people had their water shut off between 2014 and 2018. In 2017 alone, it has been estimated that one in ten Detroiters experienced a shutoff. Water shutoffs disproportionately impact cities with higher rates of poverty, unemployment, and people of color.
In addition, the letters continue, “Fixing our region’s failing infrastructure can put people to work and set the stage for economic revitalization in our towns and cities. Federal investment in our water infrastructure also can ensure safe, clean water is available to everyone in the region.”