On Monday, July 1 at 12:30 pm, a large group including an array of water advocates from many different justice fields plan to gather to remind Baltimore that community residents are facing yet another daunting water rate hike, without any comprehensive affordability or accountability measures in place. This is the first water rate hike in the series of a three-year, 30 percent rate increase package announced by Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) last year, and approved by the Board of Estimates in January.
While rates increase, water bills are still not being sent to resident’s homes due to the ransomware attacks. Residents did not receive water bills for May or June and have been told to “put money aside” to pay the outstanding months of bills once the systems are working again, or send money to the Department of Public Works using estimates of what previous bills have been. With the rate increase, these bills will be even larger than many families anticipate.
Baltimoreans already face egregiously high water bills and the City has proven itself incapable of protecting the human right to water for its most vulnerable. The Water Accountability & Equity Act (WAEA) will put the necessary protections and process in place to make sure all Baltimoreans can afford and access clean and safe water, as well as a comprehensive dispute resolution process.
Before this rate increase, water bills had already doubled since 2012. According to the United Nations, water is affordable when it is no more than 3% of a family’s income. Already, more than a third of Baltimoreans are being billed more than this, with this rate hike more than forty percent will be billed above this threshold. The typical household will be paying about $1,200 a year on water, sewer and stormwater service after the increase.
The group will demand that the City pass WAEA and nothing less.
What: Press conference highlighting inhumanity of first Baltimore city water rate hike
When: Monday, July 1st at 12:30 pm
- Glen Middleton, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 67 and Local 44
- Karen Wabake, Senior Staff Attorney with Homeless Persons Representation Project
- Molly Amster, Baltimore Director, Jews United for Justice
- Rianna Eckel, Senior Maryland Organizer, Food & Water Watch
Where: War Memorial Plaza, in front of City Hall
100 Holliday St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Visuals: Large cardboard faucet with money sign ‘droplets’, large tent with banner across the top saying ‘rate hikes without real affordability = injustice’.
Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment. www.foodandwaterwatch.org
Contact: Jackie Filson, [email protected], (202) 683-2538